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Bilateral Stimulation in Wilderness Therapy: Treating Trauma, Grief, and Shame in Adolescent Boys

As my training in EMDR was coming to a close, I had an interesting conversation with one of the primary facilitators, Frank. He described his efforts to bring EMDR treatment into public schools. He spoke with conviction about the need for and potential benefits of this treatment for children, and he lamented the opposition he’d encountered. Some of the students were very resistant, and this paled in comparison to parents who thought the protocol looked a lot like hypnosis. Though frustrated by this, Frank smiled as he described the solution he’d devised. Proudly, Frank displayed a toy ball that flashed when he slammed it against the table.

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Bilateral Stimulation in Wilderness Therapy: Treating Trauma, Grief, and Shame in Adolescent Boys

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As stated by EMDR Institute, Inc., “EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.”  In sessions, clients shift patterns of avoidance and explore their memories and interpretations of past events. In between sets of eye movements, the therapist checks in with the client to follow how they are reprocessing the events and guide the client further. Typically, through EMDR, negative beliefs about self decrease and, following this, positive thoughts and perspectives are strengthened.

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Field Instructor Training – May 17th to 23rd

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Thank you for your interest in Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness. We are a licensed treatment program that uses the wilderness setting to provide a clinically-focused intervention, teaching clients accountability, communication skills and healthy emotional and behavioral habits. BRTW’s main office is in Clayton, GA, in the southern Appalachian Mountains and borders the Chattahoochee and Nantahala National Forests. Clayton is conveniently located between Atlanta, GA, and Asheville, NC.

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