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Considerations for Working Safely with Children and Trauma

An interview with Amy Gaesser, Ph.D.

Tapping out of Trauma Trainings present our biannual free webinar featuring Dr. Amy Gaesser. We felt that having a trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive approach for working specifically with children and adolescents was a critical issue to address and we could not think of anyone more skilled and knowledgeable than Dr Gaesser to offer that perspective. As an EFT researcher, in private practice and as a university professor for school counselors we are thrilled to explore this topic especially at a point in time during the COVID epidemic that is exacerbating a period of stress and trauma for young people. In this interview, some of the inquiries we engage with her on include:

  • What could be considered to be the most critical foundational practices and considerations for using EFT with children?
  • An exploration of the gradient of childhood stressor to traumatic experiences that EFT practitioners need to be able to safely work with
  • Understanding distinctions between childhood stressors and trauma, especially with regards to the current pandemic, dangerous social media trends, bullying and more.
  • What are unique considerations that the practitioner needs to keep in mind when working with children who are 10 years old or younger
  • What are unique considerations exist for the pre-teen and adolescents in the11-18 year old demographic
  • What are some helpful resources for practitioners using EFT to help work with children
  • Working with special needs children
  • With a focus on youth resilience, what are ways that EFT is being successfully integrated into systems that support children’s mental and emotional health

Dr. Amy Gaesser is an Associate Professor of Counselor Education at The College at Brockport, State University of New York. She received her PhD in Educational Psychology: Counselor Education & Gifted Education from the University of Connecticut, her Masters in Counselor Education from SUNY Brockport, and her B.S. in Social Work with a minor in Religious Studies from Nazareth College of Rochester. Her present research includes meeting the social and emotional well-being of students in school settings and interventions to reduce anxiety and address trauma for children and adolescents, including the efficacy of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). She publishes and presents at national, regional and local levels on the effective use of EFT for stress and anxiety management, and the neurological and cognitive impacts of stress, anxiety and trauma.

Additionally, she is a Mental Health Counselor-LP, with over 25 years of experience in mental health and academia, specializing in counseling interventions to assist children, adolescents and adults with transitions and a broad spectrum of mental health concerns. Among Dr. Gaesser’s areas of expertise are Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for stress and anxiety management, the specialized needs of high-ability youth, and mindfulness counseling. In addition, she maintains a private practice working with all ages, including youth and their parents. Dr. Gaesser’s recent publications include:

  • Gaesser, A. H. (2019). Emotional freedom techniques (EFT): Stress and anxiety management for students and staff in school settings. In M. A. Bray & C. Maykel (Eds.), Promoting mind-body health in schools: Interventions for mental health professionals. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Gaesser, A. H., & Karan, O. C. (2017). A randomized controlled comparison of Emotional Freedom Technique and cognitive-behavioral therapy to reduce adolescent anxiety: A pilot study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 23(2), 102-108. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2015.0316