Laying the foundation for trauma treatment

tool brickAs part of New Directions’ emphasis on trauma-informed treatment, more clinicians have another tool in their toolbox after undergoing training in EMDR.

EMDR has been extensively researched and shown to be effective for the treatment of trauma.

EMDR uses a structured approach to address past, present, and future aspects of disturbing memories.  It addresses the past experiences that have set the groundwork for trauma, the current situations that trigger dysfunctional emotions, and the positive experience needed to enhance future behaviors.

It incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches, including psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies.

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Although various procedures are used, EMDR gets its name from a treatment element that uses bilateral eye movements, tones or taps. During the reprocessing phases, the client attends momentarily to past memories, present triggers, or anticipated future experiences while simultaneously focusing on a set of external stimulus. During that time, clients generally experience the emergence of insight, changes in memories or new associations.   

The technique requires training and following of specific protocols for appropriate use.
               
The training for New Directions staff was done by Ricky Greenwald, Psy.D., executive director of the Child Trauma Institute in Greenfield, Mass., and a pioneer in research and treatment of traumatized children and adolescents.

Training in trauma-informed treatment is being conducted at New Directions through two grants: a grant of $225,000 over three years from the John R. Oishei Foundation and a $40,000 grant from the Robert J. and Martha B. Fierle Foundation.

July 2009

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Connie Oswald Stofko
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New Directions Youth and Family Services
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