EMDR (Eye-Movement Reprocessing Desensitization)
EMDR therapy is both a therapeutic tool and a trauma treatment that helps you address the challenges of your past, present, and future. Its effectiveness has been shown in many studies for traumatic memories and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). EMDR is effective with all ages.
EMDR can be an incredibly powerful way to end your distress and make rapid, effective changes in your thoughts, feelings and behavior. It is inspiring and exciting to see people move out of a reactive frame of mind into a creative, confident approach to life with the help of EMDR.
There are eight phases of EMDR Therapy.
- Phase 1: History and Treatment Planning. The therapist will discuss with you the problem that brought you into therapy. One unique aspect of EMDR is that you do not need to go into any detail for the treatment to be effective.
- Phase 2: Preparation. The therapist will explain the EMDR therapy process in more detail and will teach you techniques that you can use later in treatment to calm yourself when you feel overwhelmed. These may include breathing techniques and mental images that give you a feeling of safety and positive self-worth.
- Phase 3: Assessment. The therapist will help you identify a traumatic image and an associated negative cognition that you wish to change. You will also identify a positive cognition which will replace the negative cognition.
- Phase 4: Desensitization. You will focus on the traumatic image, the negative cognition and disturbing emotions and body sensations. The therapist will lead you through a set of eye movements or other forms of stimulation such as alternate hand-tapping or bilateral auditory tones. As the original discomfort lessens, the therapist may guide you to focus on additional traumatic images, negative cognitions or disturbing emotions and body sensations as a target for desensitization.
- Phase 5: Installation. Through the use of eye movements or other forms of stimulation, the therapist will help you strengthen and reinforce the positive cognition.
- Phase 6: Body scan. You will focus on the traumatic event and scan your body to see if there is any residual tension. If there is, you will repeat phases 4 and 5 to reprocess the event and remove the tension.
- Phase 7: Closure. The therapist will help you use self-calming techniques so that you end the session feeling better than when you started. The therapist will also guide you in what to expect between sessions and how to handle the thoughts and feelings that may occur.
- Phase 8: Reevaluation. At the beginning of each subsequent session, the therapist will check to make sure that the benefits of the previous sessions are still in effect. The therapist will identify new areas that need treatment and help you reprocess them as needed.