EMDR Therapy is effective for teenagers. Let’s talk more about why EMDR can be such an effective therapy technique for teens.
First of all, it’s worth noting that teens often face a unique set of challenges when it comes to mental health. Adolescence is a time of intense emotional and physical development, and it’s not uncommon for teens to struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues as a result. Additionally, teens may be dealing with stressors such as academic pressure, social pressures, family issues, and more.
EMDR Therapy specifically targets the negative thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations associated with traumatic experiences. When a traumatic event occurs, the brain can get “stuck” in a state of distress, which can lead to symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). During an EMDR session, the therapist can help the brain reprocess the traumatic memory to reduce the intensity of these symptoms.
EMDR is a short-term therapy
One of the great things about EMDR is that it’s a relatively short-term therapy. While the number of sessions required will vary depending on the individual’s needs, it’s often possible to see significant improvement in just a few sessions. This can be especially appealing for teens who may be hesitant to commit to a long-term therapy process.
Another benefit of EMDR is that it’s a non-invasive form of therapy. Some teens may find it difficult or intimidating to talk extensively about their trauma, and EMDR provides an alternative approach that doesn’t require a lot of talk therapy. Instead, the focus is on the eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation, which can be more comfortable for some teens.
The evidence EMDR Therapy is effective for teenagers
Several studies have looked at the effectiveness of EMDR with adolescents. For example, one study published in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma found that EMDR was effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety in a group of adolescents who had experienced sexual abuse (Diehle et al., 2015). Another study published in the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research found that EMDR was effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and trauma in a group of adolescents who had experienced a range of traumas (Rodenburg et al., 2009).
Additionally, a systematic review of the literature on EMDR with children and adolescents found that the majority of studies reported positive outcomes, with EMDR being effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression (Greenwald et al., 2018).
Overall, the research suggests that EMDR can be an effective treatment option for adolescents who are struggling with a range of mental health issues. Of course, as with any therapy technique, it’s important to work with a qualified therapist to determine if it’s the right choice for you or your teen. But the evidence suggests that EMDR can be a powerful tool for healing and growth.
Diehle, J., Opmeer, B. C., Boer, F., Mannarino, A. P., & Lindauer, R. J. (2015). Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: what works in children with posttraumatic stress symptoms? A randomized controlled trial. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 24(2), 227-236.
Greenwald, R., McClintock, S. D., & Bailey, R. (2018). A systematic review of EMDR with children and adolescents: A review of the literature from 2012–2017. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 12(1), 3-15.