Use of EMDR with children experiencing complex trauma


This workshop will explain how early chaos and/or neglect affects a child’s brain, autonomic nervous system, and body system and how this can lead to the development of complex trauma. The presentation of complex trauma in children including dissociation, the inability to trust, and behavioral disturbances will be described. The three-stage trauma treatment model will be described with particular attention to the role of EMDR within each stage of this treatment. Because of the dynamics of complex trauma – the separation off of emotions, cognitions/ memories, and body sensations – an adapted form of the EMDR protocol is often required. Several clinical cases will be described with details on how EMDR is incorporated. The complexities of working with Aboriginal children and their parents will be explored. EMDR has been found to be particularly helpful with addressing the complex trauma experienced by Aboriginal people through their experiences of colonization, the residential school system, and present intra- and extra-familial abuse. Numerous case examples will be given. Ideas for developing a culturally respectful and relevant program for Aboriginal children who have experienced trauma will be presented. Learning Objectives: 1. Participants will be able to explain the effects of severe chaos and neglect on a child’s development. 2. Participants will be able to use EMDR within their therapies with traumatized children 3. Participants will be able to identify the unique circumstances and experiences endured by Aboriginal children and families. 4. Participants will be able to design a culturally respectful therapeutic program incorporating EMDR that addresses the specific needs of Aboriginal children who experience complex trauma






Sandra Wieland
Nick Ruedy

Original Work Citation

Wieland, S., & Ruedy, N. (2014, May). Use of EMDR with children experiencing complex trauma. Presentation at the EMDR Canada Annual Conference, Quebec City, QC



“Use of EMDR with children experiencing complex trauma,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 21, 2021,

Output Formats