Understanding Autism and Emdr TreatmentsEye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (otherwise known as EMDR) is a therapy technique that is used to help people overcome feelings of great anxiety. It is used to treat things like schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, learning disabilities, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, and other personality or mental health issues that people may be facing in their lives. It works very simply. This therapy is based on eye movements. A stick (sometimes lighted) is in front of a patient in patterns and the patient must follow that stick with their eyes. There may be a connection between the anxiety of autism and EMDR treatments.
Dr. Francine Shapiro invented this theory or practice while strolling through a park and noting that her feelings of anxiety had lessened due to her rapid eye movement. As a result she decided to write her thesis on this premise, however, the school she attended and where she earned her doctorate no longer exists, and was never accredited. However, that does not mean this sort of therapy is not without merit.
The reasoning behind how the treatment works is unclear however for many patients it is the key to reducing symptoms brought about by stressful or shocking experiences. Some suggest EMDR works along the same lines as acupuncture. Just as the chi in the body must be manipulated so that it is running free and clear for good function of the body, the brain must have the same balance. This practice may achieve that.
EMDR was initially used for people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through any type of trauma might benefit from EMDR therapy. It works by eliminating the stressful and anxious feelings that come with the memory. Someone who is suffering from PTSD in association from going off to war might find relief through EMDR. It works very simply. The patient will recall the event in detail, or at least as much possible. The stick is waved before eyes of the patient, and the patient must follow it with their eyes as they recall the experience. This also helps those who have suffered through rape, fires, disasters, and horrible accidents.
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What then, would be the connection between autism and EMDR? Although not designed with autism in mind it appears it could be beneficial for some autistics with a specific problem.
Anxiety is common among those with autism. The most notable is anxiety experiences is in relation to socializing with others, but there is much more to it for autistic children. They may have a problem with a person or event, or they may be afraid of animals or a certain place. EMDR could help them overcome that anxiety to make their lives a little better.
EMDR is not a cure for autism, however it could be a therapy worth trying anxiety is causing huge problems in day to day life. The end result of autism and EMDR treatments might not be the same for all children, but there is a possibility that some may benefit. It is certainly a non-invasive treatment that could make a difference in the life of an autistic child.