EMDR Dual Attention Stimulation (DAS)
Dual Attention Stimulation (DAS) refers to the use of alternating, right-left tracking that may take the form of eye movements, tones or music delivered to each ear, or tactile stimulation, such as alternating hand taps. Creative alternatives have been developed for children that incorporate Dual Attention Stimulation, through the use of puppets, stories, dance, art, and even swimming. EMDR helps resolve the troubling thoughts and feelings related to the distressing memories so that children can return to their normal developmental tasks and prior levels of coping. In addition, EMDR can help to strengthen feelings of confidence, calmness and mastery.
Trauma may result from a single event, multiple events or a series of events chronic in nature. Traumatic events
can cause children to view the world as unsafe and can change the way they function on a daily basis. The
traumatized child may experience panic, acute anxiety, fear of death, hopelessness, helplessness, rage, and
deep sadness. If the trauma includes interpersonal violence perpetrated by a caregiver who is supposed
to protect the child, it becomes overwhelming and can cause a child to be in a constant state of fear and
anxiety. This further interferes with the child’s ability to trust or to sustain and maintain relationships. Examples
of traumatic events include: physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic violence
or community violence, witnessing a death by accident or murder, house fires, divorce, invasive medical
procedures, kidnapping, car accidents, bullying, or repeated school failures. It is not uncommon for
children involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) as a result of abuse, neglect, or abandonment to be
traumatized. When children are placed in foster care, kinship care, or adopted, the separation from their
families/caregivers can also be traumatic. Additionally, if the situation that contributed to removal by CPS
involved any of the events and subsequent reactions listed above, they are at greater risk for Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD). Frequent placements to new settings and caregivers have the potential of triggering traumatic reactions every time the child is moved.