The therapies mentioned here include universal modalities that address unresolved trauma by helping to restore self-regulation, memory creation, learning and growth. They benefit the immune system, support rewiring of the brain, promote physical and mental healing and influence long-term development.
Play is the primary language of children. During play therapy, children create play that resembles the difficult or traumatic experiences they are struggling with internally. When facilitated by a trained play therapist, the play becomes focused on the purposes of emotional healing. This leads to a reduction of symptoms (i.e. acting out and aggressive behaviors, somatic complaints, withdrawal or regression, etc.) and the reestablishment of balance in the child’s sense of well-being. The model focuses on broadening a child's range of emotional regulation through mindfulness and self-awareness, developing a strong attachment to self, and ultimately re-patterning their nervous system.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma in children and adults. A client-centered method, EMDR consists of a set of protocols that aids in the integration and processing of traumatic material. Using imagery/visualization and bi-lateral stimulation (tapping alternately on shoulders or with eye movements), and cognitive-behavioral interweaves, the therapist guides the patient to replace self-defeating thinking with adaptive thoughts and beliefs. This treatment approach can result in the alleviation of presenting symptoms, diminution of distress from the memory, improved view of the self, relief from bodily disturbance, and resolution of present and future anticipated triggers.
Yoga is a type of experiential therapy that facilitates body-awareness, emotional regulation, and stress reduction. A growing number of studies indicate that yoga may be a beneficial treatment for mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Much like the combination of exercise and relaxation techniques, yoga has a calming affect on the nervous system. By helping to regulate the nervous system, symptoms associated with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are alleviated.
Closely aligned with play, Art Therapy is an effective intervention with children as it is a natural and universal form of communication. During Art Therapy, children are provided with a safe and supportive space where they are encouraged to explore their personal story, thoughts and feelings through a variety of art materials in the presence of a calm and attentive therapist. Used for reflection, healing and relaxation Art Therapy reduces anxiety, helps develop healthy coping skills, stimulates imagination, helps restore trust, and increases self-esteem and confidence.
Music Therapy has best been described as “the use of music-making experiences and the relationships that develop through them as dynamic forces of change.” It is not a form of entertainment for the children as is so often assumed, but a dynamic interactive process. The child, not the music therapist, is the performer. It is by making music that the child experiences a free-ing up and a sense of empowerment. The child can hopefully have relief of or distraction from pain or anxiety through participatory instrument playing, moving and or vocalizing.
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing therapy that takes into account the whole person for those who are experience symptoms of trauma as well as those that are in pain and discomfort. This gentle healing touch modality helps to calm and soothe the recipient while providing a sense of reassurance. The oils used also offers some pain relief, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and wound healing properties. Children and adults that receive an Aromatherapy Treatment are more likely to fall asleep during or shortly after their massage. It has also been noted that children who are hospitalized are more restful and sleep for a longer period of time after their treatment. A body that is calm and relaxed is in a much better position to heal than one that is stressed and anxious.