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Sorensonís Ranch School Utilizes EMDR in Treating Trauma, Behavioral Problems and Substance Abuse


KOOSHAREM, UT- Sorensonís Ranch School, the premier rehabilitation ranch for troubled teens, relies on its extensive experience and multiple therapies when treating patients.
Trauma can lead to many mental health difficulties including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and behavioral problems. Trauma is a broad concept that encompasses any extremely scary or upsetting event. Some common traumas are natural disasters, serious accidents, the death of a loved one, rape, sexual and/or physical abuse, domestic violence, divorce, and even a major move in which one is uprooted from oneís friends and community. Trauma can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a group of symptoms that can occur following an emotional event. Symptoms include being hyper-vigilant, over reacting to benign events that remind one of the trauma, emotional numbness, anxiety, anger, sleep difficulties, nightmares, and flashbacks. Sometimes trauma can lead to other mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and behavioral acting out.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a specific form of therapeutic treatment that has proven to be especially effective with processing and healing from trauma. EMDR is one of the few therapeutic techniques that have been demonstrated through evidence-based research to be effective. Moreover, it is one of the most effective techniques and often has rapid results.

Sorensonís Ranch utilizes EDMR as one of the many techniques to achieve positive results for our students. According to Joy Morris, Ph.D., ďWhen a small frustration or upsetting event occurs in our lives, our brain is able to fully process that event to the most adaptive and healthy level for us. However, when a more significantly upsetting or scary event occurs, our brain tends to shut down and not be able to fully process the event to the most healthy or adaptive level.Ē

EMDR is based on a simple technique that gets both the left and right sides of the brain firing while the client goes back into the traumatic experience. With the facilitation of the therapist, the teen is able to work through the many different channels of associations in the brain related to the trauma and process them to the most healthy and adaptive level for them. The therapist has little input, with the clientís own brain providing the healing work.

Clients are able to have vivid recall of the details surrounding traumatic events including their own thoughts and feelings at the time and insights into how the trauma has affected them in a variety of areas in their lives. Joy adds, ďI have been amazed at the progress that troubled teens have been able to accomplish using this technique. Clients often experience a shift and forward movement in their healing process.Ē
EMDR is just one of the many therapies and techniques incorporated into the curriculum at Sorensonís providing custom tailored programs for each and every client based on his or her specific needs.

Joy Morris, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, has worked for Sorensonís for the past six years and has enjoyed providing individual, group, and family therapy to our students. She works with a broad range of mental health issues including mood disorders, attachment disorders, substance abuse, grief, oppositional defiance, divorce, child abuse, and other unresolved trauma. Her area of expertise is working through and releasing old unresolved trauma and its impact on oneís current life.


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