Children who have suffered from parental neglect, abuse, loss, medical problems that interfered with the parent-child bonds, or distressing circumstances such as domestic violence or parents with psychiatric or substance abuse problem often exhibit behavioral symptoms such as food and elimination problems, aggression and meltdowns, defiance, lying, and stealing.
Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and family therapy are integrated through specific steps. The family therapist provides the foundational work, increasing sensitivity in parents and improving children’s emotional skills. The EMDR therapist directly treats traumatic memories and triggers. The protocol is fully described in the treatment manual, “Integrative Team Treatment for Attachment Trauma in Children: Family Therapy and EMDR.”
What if I Work Solo?
One therapist can provide both the family therapy and EMDR components. However, with severe cases, a team is recommended for improved efficiency and success. Two therapists do not have to work in the same office, as long as there is sufficient weekly communication regarding the case.
The 4 Components of the Model:
1) Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based practice for treating problems related to traumatic memories. The integrative model involves specific adaptations to increase the effectiveness of EMDR with this special population of children who struggle with the capacity to reflect upon and regulate their emotions. Learn about Virtual training for EMDR clinicians.
2) The model provides the family therapist with a specific protocol for helping children and parents identify the traumatic roots to their behaviors, their current triggers, and their distorted, negative beliefs. The protocol involves coaching parents and children in skills of mindfulness and self-regulation, helping the children learn to dialogue with “the younger self within” and teaching other skills to improve functioning in the family and at school.
3) The model includes a peer consultation component. Members of the treatment team (2 or more) consult weekly, prioritizing cases that have a safety risk or an unstable placement. They brainstorm regarding case management, and help one another keep treatment fidelity.
4) The model includes a psycho-education component that may consist of a 5 week parent class or assigning parents to read the material through the parent guide, “Integrative Parenting: Raising Children Affected by Attachment Trauma.”