Updated: Jun 29
It’s a question that comes up frequently when working with children and families. Can kids even do EMDR? The answer is a resounding, YES! EMDR therapy is an excellent modality for children for a number of reasons.
Often, children (and even adolescents) have trouble fully engaging in talk therapies due to their developmental age. Their language skills and vocabulary, emotional expression and regulation, and cognitive abilities are not fully developed. They just can’t express themselves and think about things in the same way that adults can, so many traditional therapies that hinge on those abilities can be ineffective or insufficient.
EMDR processing is different. It doesn’t require clients to go through mental gymnastics to reframe problems and how they think about them, or to answer endless questions and talk at length about their life experiences. This is incredibly accommodating for children and teens who may be at a developmental level that prohibits much communication, or who may shut down when discussing their struggles.
EMDR therapists can also take advantage of children’s strengths in playfulness and imagination. Processing with children often looks quite different than it does with adults- by integrating art, toys, sand tray, music, movement, and play, therapists can provide a developmentally appropriate healing experience for kids.
Lastly, children make great candidates for EMDR therapy because we work with memory, and children have less complex memory networks. Their brains are still actively being wired and are more malleable to change. A child of 7 who may have a negative belief of “I’m bad” can more rapidly process their memories and experiences that informed this, simply because there are less of them. This is an ideal time to get your child the help they need! Your child and family deserve healing, and we are more than happy to help get you there.
Interested in more information? Schedule a free 15 min consult to learn more! With offices in Gilbert & Phoenix Arizona, our therapists are ready to help you achieve your limitless potential. Call 480.448.1076 today!
Gilbert Location: 2563 S. Val Vista Dr. Ste 108. Gilbert, AZ 8529
Phoenix Location: 1440 E. Missouri Ave. C270. Phoenix, AZ 85014