Childhood – Fears in Pre-Adolescent and EMDR

Each individual may experience various fears according to the characteristics and experiences brought by his developmental period. So what is fear? Fear; It is an emotional reaction that is felt in a moment of instant and a certain danger and whose source is known. Babies need protection from the moment they are born until a certain age. Until they develop the ability to protect themselves, babies form a fear response to the unknown coming from the outside world. Some fears are developmentally age-related and disappear over time, while others can become permanent somewhere and spread into our adult lives due to wrong coping styles. In the periods when we perceive life concretely and there is no abstract concept in our life, our fears are directed towards more concrete things, while in the abstract period, fears change shape and become stereotypes.

I want to continue my article with fears of 7 years and older.

Fears of being alone and loss are quite common in the 7-8 age period. Although they are playing on their own, they may want someone to accompany them. They may talk about death, accidents, or injury from a fall.

In the 9-12 age period, school problems have started to emerge. Fear of exams or performance anxiety at school may arise. More personal fears have started to emerge, as they begin to become individuals, they begin to compare themselves with their appearance and other people outside, and this leads them to a different anxiety.

Again, since there may be fear of real or virtual heroes in the movies watched in this period, it should not be allowed to watch horror and thriller movies at this age.

When it comes to pre-adolescence and adolescence, personal relationships and social anxieties begin to emerge. Anxiety about friendships and family relationships increases. Concern for the future also accompanies it. Trying to predict what kind of future they will have, natural disasters and other issues related to the growth process can also be worrisome.

So how can EMDR help this situation?

EMDR is a new method compared to many other therapy models. It can be applied to almost all ages. Looking at the research, it is observed that it provides very positive changes. The materials used are similar to many models. Of course, as in every therapy model, the support of the family is needed in EMDR. If the client does not come willingly, the family has a great share in providing motivation to the child or adolescent.

While EMDR is being studied, support is received from many models, for example; art therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy… It has been observed that fears that are not based on real life can also be studied. The child is asked to symbolize and draw a picture of the feared thing, and the negative cognitions they think about their fears are tried to be learned. For example; i am careless, i was dying, i am stupid, naughty, coward etc. Afterwards, the feelings and bodily sensations that these words and the picture make them feel are discussed. Many children can fulfill these stages, when not, children are supported with different techniques. With the desensitization stage, it is ensured that children analyze their negative cognitions and replace them with positive cognitions (I can learn to be careful, I am brave, I am smart, etc.). As I always say, the process may differ for each child, and the progress of the therapies may vary depending on the speed and strength of the child.

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