EMDR and beyond: using bodily interventions in combination with EMDR for (young) children and adolescents


Anneke Vinke, Fieke Klein Wassink

Saturday 18 june 2016

14:45 - 15:30h at Yangtze 1

Categories: Body, Children and adolescents

Parallel session: Children track - Trauma and the Body


Whereas reading body signs during EMDR sessions is general practice, designing experiments whilst keeping using the EMDR protocols is not yet very much done.

In this workshop we propose ways to integrate sensorimotor work in EMDR procedures. We choose to do so since children, especially young children, express themselves often rather in movement, facial expression and gestures than in words, writing or thoughts. In our experience during EMDR sessions many of those bodily signs can come up, especially when working with complex and early (preverbal) childhood trauma as we find in children that are (intercountry) adopted or are placed in foster care.

Movement, touch and contact can help process trauma: whilst the child was alone in the traumatic experience, in the processing he or she can rely on the therapist to keep him or her safe. The relational container is key to the processing. Keeping the child safe, but at the borders of the window of tolerance so they can process the trauma in a safe way, thereby enabling integration.

In this workshop we will share our work showing how focussing on these bodily changes whilst applying EMDR succesfully processes trauma on not only a cognitive but on a bodily level as well. This is consistent with the work on trauma treatment by for instance Ogden, Siegel, Porges, Van de Kolk. This approach has greatly enriched our clinical work.

Learning objectives

In this workshop we will demonstrate how EMDR and SP can be succesfully integrated in the treatment of young children and adolescents.

We will start of with the theoretical foundation and building the bridges between the cognitive EMDR and the bodily focused Sensorimotor approach. Then we will evaluate the merits of both by showing examples of how both models and protocols can be combined.

Participants will have the opportunity to practice with some basic sensorimotor psychotherapy skills that can be integrated in the EMDR protocol such as tracking and grounding.

In the end we will discuss the chosen approach with the particpants and we hope we will give them an experience that enriches their use of EMDR procedures with children and adolescents even further.