Have you experienced a traumatic event that has fundamentally changed the way you think, feel, or engage with the world around you? Do you find it difficult going places, driving a car, leaving home, or being in ordinary situations because of a deep, pervading feeling of fear and apprehension? Are you avoiding social situations or isolating yourself in order to create a sense of distance and safety only to realize that it is harming your most valuable relationships?
Perhaps you are the parent of a child who has trouble sleeping, refuses to go to school, or acts out in class and you want help understanding their behavior. Or it could be that you know your child has experienced a traumatic event, and you want to learn more about how eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for children may help.
Trauma can have a profound and enduring impact upon anyone’s life, regardless of age. You may be a parent whose child has endured bullying in school, abuse at home, or the loss of a loved one. Or maybe you are an adult who has suffered a physical assault or traumatic accident that has compromised your ability to trust and connect with others or feel safe in your surroundings. On the other hand, perhaps you are a first responder or an advocate for sexual assault victims, and the constant exposure to other people’s pain is slowly developing into a wound of your own.
It doesn’t matter if you are a child or an adult—whether big or small, experiencing a traumatic event can distort the way you see and interact with the world. Fortunately, our EMDR specialist can help you overcome your fears and live with greater freedom and ease.
In our 20 years of experience helping individuals overcome their past, we have seen the rate of trauma in adults, and especially in children, skyrocket.
For adults, the prevalence of gun violence, politically-motivated attacks, and military combat experiences all provide fertile ground for trauma and post-traumatic stress to take root. Additionally, adverse events in a person’s youth, such as child abuse or being placed in foster care, can affect one’s ability to trust and feel safe in relationships as an adult.
For children, online bullying, witnessing domestic violence at home, and being subject to school shooter drills can create a sense of insecurity and instability that severely threatens their mental well-being. All of the violence and uncertainty in the news combined with the toxicity of social media only add to the steady stream of potentially traumatizing stimuli. And because children often have trouble articulating their thoughts and feelings, understanding and helping a child can be a daunting and confusing experience.
When humans feel distressed, they naturally look for a way to stop the pain. However, sometimes the desire to numb emotions and obscure memories pushes people toward alcohol, drugs, or unhealthy relationships. When children seek relief, they often internalize their suffering, turning inward, disconnecting, and isolating themselves from family and social interactions.
Fortunately, with our help, you or your child can process and overcome painful experiences, emotions, or thoughts so you are free to engage life and the world around you in peace.
Whether you are the victim of a singular life-threatening situation or you have been exposed to a string of traumatic experiences, EMDR can help you come out of the shadows and begin living. Using this evidence-based, research-driven intervention, you can learn to process your pain and transform it into something that no longer binds or limits you. With a little work, you or your child can finally put the past where it belongs while gaining the awareness, tools, and courage to face life with confidence and resilience.
In our first session, we’ll begin with a comprehensive interview and assessment to better understand how trauma is manifesting in your life and to see if EMDR is the best option for your situation. Because EMDR is a gradual process of exploring and simultaneously reprocessing the past, our early sessions will center on discussion and preparation before we get to the core of the treatment method.
To that end, we may look at how prevalent trauma symptoms are and the challenges they are creating in your life. We’ll work on cultivating trust, building visualization (meditation) skills, and mindfulness strategies to help you stay grounded during and after sessions. We will also try to identify and reframe any negative cognitions (beliefs) or feelings about yourself that were generated or adopted through the experience. Then, once you feel safe and emotionally ready, we can dig a little deeper and begin accelerating the healing process.
At the heart of EMDR therapy is a unique process called bilateral brain stimulation. Using alternating lights, sounds, tapping, or tactile sensations in conjunction with guided conversation and reflection, we can improve emotional equilibrium. Once you’re able to connect your negative self-perspectives with their source, you can begin to desensitize and reprocess your experience into a new way of thinking and being. And at the end of each session, we’ll conclude with some talk therapy and mindfulness work so you feel secure, grounded, and ready to face the world when you leave the office.
Our fully trained EMDR specialist has been helping clients heal old wounds and recover their sense of wholeness since 1999. Whether you are the parent of a child seeking to ensure their well-being or you are an individual looking for a way to live with greater freedom, EMDR can offer you a way forward. With your commitment and willingness to change, you can lift the burden of the past and begin pursuing the happiness and success you deserve.
I’m afraid you will see me as broken.
We never want anyone to feel judged, blamed, or overwhelmed in sessions. This is a place of healing where you can bring the darkest, most intense aspects of your life into the light in a space dedicated to containing and validating your worst pain.
Whatever your situation is, we will always meet you with unconditional positive regard wherever you are at. Remember, you are not broken, you are hurting, and we can help you ease that pain.
I already feel vulnerable, and I’m worried this will make things worse.
What you are doing right now (reaching out for help) takes incredible courage. It means you are a fighter and you are ready to make real, lasting change in your quality of life. Though you may feel hesitant to discuss your pain, rest assured, we will be there with you every step of the way.
And if a process causes you discomfort or you don’t feel ready to discuss a sensitive subject, we can always slow the pace or use another treatment method. It’s all up to you. We’re just here to act as guides to help you find your own solutions.
As a parent, I want to ease my child’s suffering, but will EMDR therapy be too much for them?
EMDR for children looks different than it does for adults. In fact, the bilateral brain stimulation element of EMDR is often shorter and more effective when treating a child because they tend to process information faster.
However, we understand that children who have been traumatized can be easily intimidated by strangers or new experiences. That’s why we make sure that your child develops the coping skills and the level of trust needed before we ever use EMDR to treat them. Even then, we use pictures, flashcards, or finger puppets—anything to make the experience more comfortable. And if that means you want to be present throughout the sessions, you are certainly welcome.
You Don’t Have To Let A Traumatic Past Hold You Back
If you or your child would like to overcome a painful experience and find a new, clearer vision of tomorrow, we can help. Please call (860)740-2228 for your free 15-minute consultation to see how EMDR trauma counseling may be able to help you.