Healing Childhood Trauma with EMDR
The Free Press, 1999
EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES The reader will be able to:
• Describe the principles of applying eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy to treating trauma-related problems in children
• Describe how to combine elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy and alternately stimulate the right and left hemispheres of the brain with eye movement, tapping, or auditory tones
• Review example cases concerning toilet training, an automobile accident, head lice, converging stresses, grief, somatic symptoms, test anxiety, sexual mistreatment, and sleep disorders
Joan Lovett, M.D., is a behavioral pediatrician in private practice in the San Francisco Bay area. A graduate of Wellesley College and the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, Dr. Lovett trained in pediatrics at Montreal Children's Hospital/McGill University and Stanford University School of Medicine. She is an EMDR Institute Facilitator and has served as a Chair of the EMDR Medical Committee.
Childhood can be an exciting time, full of joyous exploration, new skills, friends, and imaginative play. It can also be very frightening, especially when children have experiences that threaten their feelings of safety and well-being. Even common traumatic childhood events can deeply affect children's normal healthy development, their self-esteem, and their families. Many behavioral problems stemming from common traumatic events could require years of psychotherapy or medication. That is, they did -- until the advent of EMDR. Developed by psychologist Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s, EMDR had already helped thousands of adult clients when Joan Lovett experienced its healing power firsthand.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a comprehensive therapeutic approach that helps patients release disturbing thoughts and emotions that originate in traumatic experiences. Experiences can be traumatic in the commonly accepted sense -- abuse, disasters, violence -- but children may also perceive and respond to more ordinary events as very threatening. A playground accident, the loss of a loved one, school problems, or choking on a piece of popcorn can be a part of growing up. They can also be critical incidents that cause a child to view him- or herself as helpless or powerless, to become fearful, and to develop debilitating behavioral problems.
In "Small Wonders: Healing Childhood Trauma with EMDR" Joan Lovett, M.D., shares engaging clinical stories -- mysteries involving children who present her with puzzling and disturbing behaviors. She imaginatively focuses her knowledge of pediatrics, play therapy, and EMDR to alleviate the real-life ordeals of real-life children. Featuring a foreword by Francine Shapiro, Small Wonders is the most comprehensive and insightful book to explore the potential of EMDR for child therapy. This enlightening book is intended for parents who are concerned with having their children feel confident, for adults who want insights into the way the events of their childhood shaped their self-image, and for professionals who want to know more about EMDR and how it can be adapted to meet the special needs of traumatized children.
Dr. Lovett has integrated a powerful and innovative therapeutic method (EMDR) into child therapy to help free children from traumatic and highly stressful events. This book is a must-read for child therapists and psychiatrists, pediatricians, and parents interested in these issues. --Phyllis Klaus, C.S.W., M.F.T., and Marshall Klaus, M.D. coauthors of Your Beautiful Newborn and Bonding
Small Wonders can help parents to see the difference between a child who is temporarily upset by a difficult experience and one who is suffering in a way that calls out for help. Dr. Lovett explains how parents and professionals can help traumatized children through EMDR, a new approach that is radical but effective. Her clear, compassionate explanations will open the possibility of this therapy to many more families.--Meg Zweiback, Associate Clinical Professor UC San Francisco School of Nursing