EMDR – A Powerful Therapy For Raising Self Esteem


EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing has been widely used for trauma and PTSD,Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

EMDR can also be used to help release negative beliefs you may have about yourself. The way negative beliefs work is that they are held in the body by strong emotion, mainly fear. EMDR reduces the emotion from memories and then the negative belief changes to a more positive belief.

Children are more in touch with their fears than adults. I worked with a 13 year old boy, using EMDR in desensitizing the fears he had gotten from listening to his father yell at him.

The father would try to intimidate the child to do his homework by criticizing him and calling him names like “lazy and “stupid” until the son started believing that he was those things. This caused him to have such low self esteem that he didn’t try to succeed at any of his school subjects.

The father didn’t realize at first that name calling is abusive. That was the way he had been raised and he thought this would help to motivate his son. I believe that people always do the best they can given what they know at the time. He hadn’t yet learned how to effectively motivate a person.

I told the father that if he wanted his son to succeed he must immediately stop using any labeling words such as “lazy” and “stupid”.

By using EMDR with the boy to desensitize the incidents when his father had verbally assaulted him, his beliefs about himself began to change. Through the processing a person can see the troubling events from a different perspective. In this case the boy could see that his father was out of control and was an extremely anxious person who hadn’t learned to communicate effectively. He no longer took those criticisms personally. He then could then finally feel some relief that just maybe there was nothing at all wrong with him, except a fear of failure. The father’s constant criticism had caused him not to try things due to fear of more criticism if he did not succeed.

There was a ref=building phase of therapy in which we would break his tasks down into small steps so that he could feel assured of accomplishing them and we reinforced his successes. His grades improved so that now the father was motivated to keep these changes and was able to stop the name calling completely,

One thing the boy had always wanted to do was to play football but he was afraid of criticism from his dad if he didn’t make the first team. We changed the intention of playing football to having the experience of learning the game instead of making the first team. So he is now enjoying learning the game and the fellowship with the team members. With some coaching in a family session the father was actually able to express pride in his sons accomplishments, He was also able to identify some of his son’s positive qualities such as persistence and strength.

Source by Susan Quinn

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