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Session 214 - Leadership Series: Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders in Children and Adolescents



Repeated traumatic experiences within the family and/or community during critical early years leave children with symptoms of traumatic stress, interruptions in their emotional and social development, and disorganized attachment patterns. As a result, they are high risk for developing behavioral reactivity, aggression, impulsivity, depression, anxiety, suicidality, and self-harm. Lecture, handouts and videos will provide participants with steps to a practical, integrative EMDR and family therapy approach to helping children and adolescents with complex traumatic stress disorders. Participants will be provided family therapy methods for shifting parents to attune and co-regulate through the trauma lens and build capacity to self-reflect along with the child. Participants will be provided EMDR Attachment Resource Development (ARD) methods to deepen the child's sense of connection and trust with parents as well as gentle ways to assist children with complex traumatic stress disorders during EMDR reprocessing of traumatic events and present triggers.

  1. Participants will be able to identify an attachment pattern that is typical for children who want to run toward and away from the parent simultaneously and become high risk for a dissociative disorder and other major mental disorders in adolescence.
  2. Participants will be able to describe two rationale for integrating family therapy, which includes parenting education, with EMDR therapy for children affected by complex traumatic stress disorders.
  3. Participants will be able to identify three questions to ask parents to encourage nurturing words for helping children feel both loved and lovable during the “messages of love” EMDR Attachment Resource Development (ARD) activity.


  • Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

    Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP, has specialized in treating trauma and attachment problems in adults and children for over 30 years and co-founded The Attachment and Trauma Center of Nebraska in Omaha, Nebraska. She is an EMDR trainer for the EMDR Institute and an EMDRIA approved EMDR consultant. Wesselmann has co-authored articles, chapters, and books related to attachment and trauma, including the recent treatment manual for the EMDR and family therapy integrative model as well as the companion parent guide, both published by W.W. Norton. She presents nationally and internationally.

September 11, 2022
Sun 12:30 PM CDT

Duration 3H 30M

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