EMDR Therapy and Complex Trauma in Children

EMDR Therapy for childhood trauma can be highly effective with children and teens, but even simple cases require modifications and complex cases require advanced case conceptualization and clinical interventions.

This two-day training includes lecture, video, and practicum exercises designed to help clinicians successfully integrate EMDR Therapy into their work with children. We’ll move beyond Standard Protocol approaches to this population so you can work more confidently with children who present with complex trauma, including attachment injury, abuse, and neglect.

We’ll begin with how to set up a playroom with the Adaptive Information Processing model in mind, how to engage children in each of the 8 Phases, and how to create play and expressive arts interweaves. Participants will also review the neuroscience of trauma in children.

We will then focus on developing advanced skills to work with children who present with complex trauma including attachment injury, abuse and neglect. These children need a specialized approach that facilitates successful relational resourcing, development of affect regulation skills, and substantially titrated processing work to support comprehensive EMDR treatment.

We’ll cover more in depth neuroscience, including the neurobiology of attachment and shame. Participants will learn when and how to implement advanced strategies such as Tip of the Finger processing to address therapeutic blockages and actively triggered disturbance. The goal is to recognize, prevent and/or move through those “stuck points” that can stall progress.

Material will follow the Eight Phases of EMDR Therapy whenever possible and any deviations from that model will be explained so that participants can make effective clinical adaptions.

Learning Objectives Day 1:

  1. Identify informational plateaus, targets, and resources using sand tray and other expressive arts interventions.
  2. Describe the Polyvagal theory and how it relates to complex trauma in children.
  3. Describe 3 theoretical models of dissociation (Liotti, Structural Dissociation, Neurobiological).
  4. Identify 5 areas to evaluate when conceptualizing client needs and readiness for EMDR Therapy.
  5. Assess for experiences of neglect and absence using AIP-informed History Taking for target identification.
  6. Identify 5 skills or resources to implement in Phase 2 Preparation.

Learning Objectives Day 2:

  1. Explain Nathanson’s Compass of Shame and shame-based behavioral responses.
  2. Identify 5 skills needed for effective Phase 2 Preparation of children with dissociative presentations.
  3. Identify 3 skills for needed for parts work with children who have a dissociative presentation.
  4. Apply Tip of the Finger processing to address therapeutic blockages, stuck points, and actively triggered disturbances.

What People Are Saying

  • “Thanks for all the new techniques! I feel like I can finally help some of my most traumatized kids.”
  • “Everything was wonderful! It reiterated my previous learning and expanded my knowledge and skill base.”
  • “Wonderful! I left with practical interventions and great resources for further study”
  • “Cherilyn is awesome! She is well-versed in the material and I learned so much from her.”

Thanks for all the new techniques! I feel like I can finally help some of my most traumatized kids.

Everything was wonderful!! It reiterated my previous learning and expanded my knowledge and skill base.

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