• Sheilah Ledesma, LCSW

How EMDR Can Help Teens Cope with Anxiety, Trauma, and PTSD



Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a specific type of psychotherapy treatment that helps alleviate the distress that individuals are experiencing due to a traumatic experience. The level of emotional distress is decreased and an individual’s capacity to improve their well-being and mental health is also enhanced.


Recent research shows that EMDR therapy is a safe and effective form of psychotherapy for teens, especially for teens who find it very difficult to express themselves and talk about their feelings. EMDR can also be a great alternative to teens taking psychotropic medications as it is a natural way to decrease the symptoms they are experiencing.


Here are 5 important ways EMDR therapy can help teens:


  1. Improvement in quality of sleep - It is common for teens to experience nightmares after a traumatic experience and EMDR therapy can treat the traumatic memories. After engaging in EMDR, teens are able to have a better night’s rest as the nightmares are reduced and eliminated.

  2. More confidence and independence - EMDR therapy helps teens heal emotionally and physically which allows them to have a stronger sense of self. This stronger sense of self helps them feel more secure in their connections with peers and family members. More confidence and independence will position teens to create meaningful relationships which can enhance their overall well-being.

  3. Promotes resilience - EMDR therapy increases teens’ ability to cope with stress and change in their personal life. Their capacity to handle and navigate negative situations strengthens and they continue to grow from their past experiences as well as feel more prepared for the future. Instead of avoiding stress, they are confident in their ability to manage and cope with stress.

  4. Focus better in school - Traumatic experiences negatively affect a teen’s ability to focus in daily life, especially in school. EMDR therapy helps heal the memories that can be overwhelming and distracting so teens can effectively focus and complete their schoolwork.

  5. Heal from loss - Whether a teen is experiencing their parent’s divorce, losing friends at school, or the loss of a loved one, the loss can have an intense impact on a teen’s life. Teens experience a myriad of emotions which can be extremely challenging and can also affect a teen’s self-esteem and view of self. EMDR therapy assists teens in processing the loss they are experiencing so they have a deeper understanding of what is going on in their world. This understanding is essential for teens to grow and heal from the loss instead of blaming themselves or others.

Do you know of a teen who is experiencing anxiety or other symptoms from a traumatic experience? Contact Bayview Therapy at 954.391.5305 and we would love to answer any questions you have and connect you to a therapist trained in EMDR. Hope and help are always available and we would love to connect with you. We look forward to speaking with you!


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