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Using EMDR [Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing] to treat trauma with clients on the autism sp

Using EMDR [Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing] to treat trauma with clients on the autism spectrum. Although not designed with autism in mind, it appears EMDR, could be beneficial for some autistic clients with a specific problem. Anxiety is common among those with autism. The most notable of anxiety producing experiences is that of socialization with others. Those with autism may have a problem with a person or event, or they may be afraid of animals or a certain place. EMDR is intended to treat trauma; however, one may look at trauma as a major singular event or the long-term impact of lesser, but still impactful, traumatic events. EMDR can help the individual, become less rigid or reactive to the trauma. With Autism, many individuals are very attached to how things are. Flexibility is a great obstacle.

One theory that attempts to explain this (Intense World Theory) is that people with this disorder experience the world in extreme ways. They perceive the world as so intense that it can become difficult or unbearable at times. This theory may explain hypersensitivity, coping with self-injury, intense feelings, including severe distress at others; pain and meltdowns, and heightened fear. There is still some debate about this idea, but its intent may help individuals to better understand and accept themselves and their loved ones. EMDR is not a cure for autism, however it could be a therapy worth trying for treating anxiety, especially if it is causing serious problems in day-to- day life. The end result of autism and EMDR treatments might not be the same for all people, but there is a possibility that some may benefit. It is certainly a non-invasive treatment that could make a difference in a person's life. Counseling and psychotherapy have been shown to be successful, particularly with approaches that utilize and integrate concrete, experiential, and behavioral aspects of treatment. EMDR creates that opportunity for the individual to experience life without the reactivity to past trauma. In an article published in the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, there are several case studies which showed positive outcomes. One client said of the treatment “she is more able now to remember that she is ‘worthy’ even when [the staff at the group home] says something to her that seems critical.” Her counselor said of their work, “We practiced the use of mind/body skills to remain in the present moment in anxiety provoking situations and Teresa demonstrated an outstanding comprehension of where her sense of worthiness must originate.” There are several case studies in this article. I highly recommend reading it if EMDR sounds like a option you would like to investigate for your loved one.

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