Trauma narratives told by parents may provide a coherent life story for the child. During the telling, the events may become desensitized. The parents’ presence and availability provide a secure base so that the child does not become dysregulated during the story. Eventually, the child becomes bored with it. Parents may see a reduction in anxiety and behaviors related to the trauma. Narratives also seem to shift the negative meaning the child attributed to the event and to himself. A child who believed that he was bad and deserving of abuse and abandonment may begin to accept the possibility that, like all babies, he deserved attention and love. He may question the conclusion that what happened was his fault. In some cases the extent and severity of the trauma may be beyond that which parents feel comfortable handling in a narrative.
Seeking out professionals trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to assist in helping the child heal from past abuse, neglect, and losses may be advisable. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing was discovered and developed by Francine Shapiro in 1987. It is postulated that EMDR provides a mechanism for healing on neurological, physiological, emotional, and cognitive levels. Shapiro (1995) asserts that trauma obstructs a natural information processing system. The event remains in memory in its anxiety-producing form. Images, strong feelings, and physical sensations are then triggered by a multitude of stimuli encountered in everyday life. The bilateral stimulation of EMDR (eye movement, hand taps, auditory or tactile stimuli) seems to reactivate the information processing system. Unobstructed, the memory is now processed and loses its emotional and physical impact. The child is enabled to consider new conclusions about the event. For more information on EMDR visit the website: www.EMDR.com.