Footsteps through the maze



The Maze, as a metaphor for a place where problems live and are solved, was developed out of the necessity of working with children who were too anxious, embarrassed, or afraid to experience the uncomfortable feelings around their problem areas. Such children often present as actively oppositional or sullenly silent. It was necessary to find a distancing technique that was both nonthreatening and interesting to gradually establish communication between therapist and child about issues that cause them discomfort. The main purpose of the maze is to gradually sensitize the child to the possibility of exploring the defended inner space where unpleasant, scary emotions dwell. This protocol serves as a distancing game to gradually sensitize the child to the fact that he is capable of going through a process within himself (the space symbolized by the maze) where he may meet uncomfortable feelings but also good ones. He is responsible for finding the path to the exit. Often, the child works only with mazes during a treatment, but, more often, they serve as part of the preparation for processing with the Standard EMDR Protocol in the usual way.


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Barbara Wizansky



“Footsteps through the maze,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 20, 2021,

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