Case Study: EMDR Treatment for Children – AJ
After a humiliating experience at school, AJ developed PTSD. Following panic attacks and other symptoms he underwent EMDR treatment designed for children which had a really positive impact on him.
“Before I came to see Sharon, I was really struggling. I never wanted to go to school because it made me really anxious. My parents thought this was because I have dyslexia and find schoolwork difficult.
But, during homeschooling, I was asked to write a newspaper article and I had a meltdown (panic attack) and became hysterical. In my distress, I blurted out what had happened to me at my old school. My teacher had asked me to write an article which I did. When my teacher read my attempt, he was so disgusted that he ripped it up in front of the whole class and told everyone that I could not construct a proper sentence. Words that would haunt me, for two years, until I had EMDR.
I wish I had told my family sooner but I was too ashamed. I now know that shame thrives on secrecy, as soon as you tell someone about it, then it loses the power it holds over you. I had already moved school before I disclosed this incident and was happy at my new school but, in my head, I was forever stuck in my old school. Every time I tried to write something down, I could hear my old teacher’s cruel comments.
So, my parents arranged for me to come to see Sharon. I was very worried about seeing a therapist because I did not know what to expect. I didn’t need to worry as it was ace. Sharon is really gentle and quiet (which made me feel safe) and has lots of tubes of bubbles!!! Sharon taught me a fun game with bubbles which I still enjoy. I also got to create a special place (in my mind) which I can go to when I feel anxious.
I didn’t realise that it had worked until I was recently asked to write another newspaper article and I just did it. I returned to school after lockdown without crying every morning.
I still remember the incident but it no longer hurts me. I now know that I am not stupid, I just have dyslexia. I have been able to teach my teachers about the benefits of EMDR.”
Find out more about EMDR for children here, and find out more about PTSD in children here.
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It is possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event occurred, which means it is never too late to seek help. For some, the first step may be watchful waiting, then exploring therapeutic options such as individual or group therapy – but the main treatment options in the UK are psychological treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
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