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EMDR Therapy: A Powerful Tool for Healing the Effects of Toxic Stress on Developing Children

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

Toxic stress is a type of stress that occurs when a child experiences prolonged or frequent stressors that are beyond their ability to cope with. This type of stress can have a range of negative effects on a child's development, including cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a form of therapy that can be highly effective in treating the negative effects of toxic stress on developing children.


Toxic stress can have a significant impact on a child's cognitive development. Chronic stress can impair a child's ability to learn, concentrate, and remember information. It can also lead to difficulties with impulse control, emotional regulation, and problem-solving. Toxic stress can also have negative effects on a child's physical health. Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, increase the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and lead to physical symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches.


In addition to these physical and cognitive effects, toxic stress can also have emotional and behavioral effects on developing children. Children who experience toxic stress may struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. They may also exhibit behavioral problems such as aggression, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.


EMDR therapy is a form of therapy that has been found to be effective in treating trauma and other mental health issues in children. EMDR therapy can be particularly helpful for children who have experienced toxic stress and are struggling with the negative effects on their mental and emotional well-being.


During EMDR therapy, the child is asked to focus on a specific traumatic memory or experience while engaging in a specific form of bilateral stimulation, such as following a therapist's finger as it moves back and forth. The goal of EMDR therapy is to help the child reprocess the traumatic memory in a way that reduces the emotional distress associated with it. This can help to desensitize the child to the trauma and reduce the negative effects it has on their mental and emotional well-being.


EMDR therapy has been found to be effective in treating a range of mental health issues in children, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems. It has also been found to be effective in improving cognitive function and academic performance in children who have experienced trauma.


One of the benefits of EMDR therapy is that it can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the child. For example, the therapist may use different forms of bilateral stimulation or incorporate play therapy techniques to help the child feel more comfortable and engaged during the therapy session.


If you're considering EMDR therapy for a child who has experienced toxic stress, it's important to work with a licensed therapist who has experience working with children and trauma. EMDR therapy is a powerful tool, but it should only be used under the guidance of a qualified EMDR Therapist.


Interested in learning more about how EMDR can help you or your child? 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.



Gilbert Location: 2563 S. Val Vista Dr. Ste 108. Gilbert, AZ 8529

Phoenix Location: 1440 E. Missouri Ave. C270. Phoenix, AZ 85014

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