Studies have shown that by using EMDR therapy, people can accelerate the benefits of psychotherapy that used to take years to make a difference.
EMDR therapy it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for both trauma (any disturbing experience that could be rape, car accident etc) and “every day” issues (anxiety, low self-esteem etc.) Over 100,000 clinicians throughout the world use the EMDR training.
EMDR is an eight-phase treatment that uses eye movements or other stimulation:
Phase 1: History Taking. Generally, those with adult onset trauma can be successfully treated in under 5 hours. Multiple or severe trauma victims may require a longer treatment time.
Phase 2: Help with Handling Emotional Distress. The therapist may teach the client a variety of techniques they can use during and between sessions. One of the main goals of EMDR is to produce change while the client maintains stability during and between sessions.
Phases 3-6: Target Identification and processing. Using EMDR therapy procedures the client identifies the vivid image related to the memory, a negative feeling about themself and any emotions and body sensations that arise. The client then additionally identifies a positive belief. Their therapist then helps the client rate the positive belief while intensifying the negative emotions. After this, the client will focus on the image, negative thought and body sensations while engaging in EMDR; this can include eye movements, taps or tones but the type and length of the set is different for everyone. At this point, the client will take time to just notice what occurs in their body. Depending on what the client notices, the clinician will decide on the next course of action. These repeated sets occur numerous times throughout the session; if they become distressed or have a difficult time, the therapist will follow established procedures to get their client back on track.
After each of these sets of stimulation, the clinician instructs the client to let his/her mind go blank and to notice whatever thought, feeling, image, memory, etc comes to mind. Depending on what the client experiences, the clinician will choose the next focus of attention. These repeated sets with directed focused attention will occur multiple times throughout the session. If the client becomes upset or has difficulty progressing in the process, the therapist follows established procedures to help the client get back on track.
When the client experiences zero distress related to the targeted memory, (s)he is asked to think of the positive feeling / memory / thought that was identified at the beginning of the session. At this time, the client can adjust the positive belief if they would like, and then focus on it during the next set of distressing events.
Phase 7: Closure
Phase 8: Examining the progress made thus far.
EMDR shows that the mind can heal from psychological trauma similar to how the body recovers from physical trauma. Using the protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help their clients activate their natural healing processes.
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Helpful Blogs for those seeking EMDR
- What is EMDR Therapy? by Sandra Stanford