In my practice, I have successfully used EMDR with clients as young as 4 years old, up through the age of 25 years old. While the process itself shifts depending on age and stage of development, the intervention and improvement is consistent across all ages.
At K. Capps Counseling, EMDR is offered as a treatment option for:
**EMDR is an OPTION - offered as a separate service or integrated into psychotherapy when appropriate and discussed - it is not automatically integrated.
What is it?
EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) is a short-term therapy approach that uses bilateral stimulation to help the brain come up with its own solutions.
Bilateral stimulation is visual (eye movement), auditory (tones), or tactile cues (tapping) that occur in a left-right pattern in rhythm.
I only use tactile cues with children and teens as it allows for them to be more engaged in the process.
There are actually many forms of bilateral stimulation that we use naturally in our every-day lives: going on a walk or run, riding a bike, or even drumming on a desk with our fingers or hands. The common phrase "take a hike" when someone is upset may make sense now - using bilateral stimulation to think through the situation and take some time to calm down.
How does it work?
One part of the brain is more emotional, and one part of the brain is more logical. We are functioning using our logical brain when we are calm and problem solving. We are functioning mostly from our emotional brain when we are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or highly emotional - this is when we do not have as much access to the logical brain or to many of our problem solving abilities and solutions. The EMDR approach helps these two parts of the brain work together to desensitize, reprocess, and come up with those new solutions so that we are less affected by our difficult experiences, negative beliefs, anxiety, etc.
What does it entail?
EMDR was originally developed to treat trauma. It is now frequently used for a variety of clinical concerns due to the increase in studies and proven effectiveness in a wide range of areas.
There is also significant overlap between EMDR preparation and “talk-therapy” or CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), we:
Then we use the bilateral stimulation explained above, along with rating and reviewing both the negative experience and positive feelings throughout, to (again) allow the brain to desensitize, reprocess, and come up with new solutions.
EMDR has been successfully used for: