What is EMDR Therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches.
EMDR therapy uses right/left eye movement to repeatedly activate the opposite sides of the brain, releasing negative emotions. This assists the neurophysiological system, the basis of the mind/body connection.
The eight phases of EMDR therapy include:
1.History taking: The therapist and client review past events, current concerns and future needs, and identify target events for processing.
2.Preparation: To prepare for coping with any distress that may arise during the desensitization phase, the client selects a mental safe-place that can provide stabilization.
3.Assessment: With the event in mind, the client’s negative beliefs are evaluated and measured. At this point a desirable positive belief is selected.
4.Desensitization: Stimulation in the form of eye movements or taps are used to reprocess the distressing event.
5.Installation: The selected positive cognition is the target of the bilateral stimulation in this phase. The therapist will check in periodically to see how true the desired belief feels to the client.
6.Body scan: Any residual physical tension or distress indicates that the event is not fully processed, and the stimulation continues if necessary.
7.Closure: This phase will occur at the end of a session, regardless of whether or not the memory is fully processed. A complete sequence can take several sessions, and it is important to reach stabilization before the session ends.
8.Reevaluation: The next session begins here to evaluate and measure the level of disturbance and the accuracy of the positive belief.
Therapists offering EMDR are licensed mental health professionals who have received specialized training.