EMDR with children and youth


This presentation will focus on practical and creative strategies for working with children with severe dysregulation or constriction of the affective system. These include children exhibiting insecure patterns of attachment, developmental and complex trauma and dissociative symptoms. Strategies directed to titrate amount of trauma and keep children within manageable and tolerable levels of activation to optimize their integrative capacity will be demonstrated. How to work with children with sensitized sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, as well as children with avoidant, disorganized and anxious attachment strategies and dissociative symptoms will be addressed. Considering that children with developmental and complex trauma present with attachment injuries inflicted when lower brain areas were still maturing, their capacities for affect regulation can be compromised (Ogden & Gómez, 2013). The use of strategies that work directly with subcortical brain regions and the body, will be addressed. The “Multifactor model of preparation” (Gomez, 2010) will be presented as well as “portals” to access memory networks containing traumatogenic material with children that rapidly become dysregulated, emotionally constricted and dissociative. A wide range of interweaves will be presented. This includes the “reparative interweave” which is directed to heal the attachment system and assist children in meeting unmet attachment needs. In addition, clinicians will learn how to use strategies from the EMDRSandtray protocol (Gómez, 2013) to access implicit material and provide distance from the memories of trauma and hardship. This facilitates the exploration, accessing and processing of such memory systems while staying within the child’s window of tolerance.






Ana Gomez

Original Work Citation

Gomez, A. (2020, January). EMDR with children and youth. Preconference presentation at the 4th EMDR Asia International Conference, Bangkok, Thailand




“EMDR with children and youth,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed July 29, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/26246.

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