What Is EMDR Therapy?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy (Shapiro, 2001) was created in 1987 to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is based on the adaptive information processing concept (Shapiro 2007). EMDR is an individual therapy that is normally administered once or twice a week for a total of 6 to 12 sessions, however, some patients may benefit from fewer sessions. Sessions can also be scheduled on successive days.

The adaptive information processing model holds that symptoms of PTSD and other disorders (unless they have a physical or chemical basis) result from troubling past experiences whose memories continue to cause distress because they are not processed properly. I’m assuming. Unprocessed memories are assumed to include emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and physical sensations experienced at the moment of the event. When the memory is aroused, the remembered anxiety aspects are felt, resulting in PTSD and/or other problems.

Unlike other treatments that focus directly on changing the emotions, thoughts, and reactions that result from traumatic experiences, EMDR therapy focuses directly on memory and aims to change the way memories are stored in the brain. The purpose is to reduce memory and eliminate problematic symptoms.

Clinical observations indicate that during EMDR therapy, accelerated learning processes are stimulated by EMDR’s standardized procedures, including the use of eye movements and other forms of rhythmic left-right (bilateral) stimulation (such as tones and knocks). It suggests that. When a client temporarily focuses on a traumatic memory and simultaneously experiences bilateral stimulation (BLS), the vividness and emotion of the memory decrease.

This therapy is conditionally recommended to treat PTSD. Accompanied by decreased vividness and emotion associated with traumatic memories.

Using EMDR to Treat PTSD

EMDR therapy uses a structured eight-step approach that includes:

  • Phase 1: History Record
  • Phase 2: Client Preparation
  • Phase 3: Target Memory Assessment
  • Phases 4-7: Memory Processing Adaptive Resolution
  • Phase 8: Treatment Outcome Assessment

Specific memory processing is usually completed within 1-3 sessions. EMDR therapy is different from other trauma-focused treatments in that it does not involve prolonged engagement with painful memories, detailed descriptions of trauma, questioning of dysfunctional beliefs, or homework.

Recognized Effectiveness in Treating Trauma and Everyday Memories

According to several research, after just three 90-minute sessions, 84-90% of single trauma survivors have recovered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Another study supported by Kaiser Permanente discovered that after just six 50-minute sessions, 100% of single trauma survivors and 77% of those with multiple trauma survivors were no longer identified as having PTSD. In another investigation, 77% of veterans did not experience PTSD after 12 sessions.

EMDR therapy has been extensively studied and is now recognized as an effective treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, and the Department of Defense. It is being

Recognized worldwide as an effective treatment for trauma, it has been shown to help treat the “everyday” memories that cause people to suffer from low self-esteem, feelings of helplessness, and a myriad of other problems. , you can easily see how effective EMDR therapy is. I’ll take you to therapy.

The eight-step treatment

Part of the session uses eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation). After determining which memory to target first, the clinician asks the client to visualize different aspects of the event or thought, watching the therapist’s hand move the vision back and forth across the client’s area. Ask them to follow you with their eyes. The reason, Harvard researchers believe, is related to the biological mechanisms involved in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, in which clients begin to process memories and anxious emotions.

Successful EMDR therapy changes the meaning of painful events on an emotional level. Unlike talk therapy, the insight a client gains in EMDR therapy comes from the doctor’s interpretation. It’s not something you get. However, due to the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes.

The net effect is that the client completes their EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experience that once corrupted her. Their wound not only closed, but changed. As a natural result of the EMDR therapy process, a client’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all reliable indicators of emotional health and resolution without the extensive conversation and homework that is common in other therapies.

Phase 1

The initial phase includes one or more anamnesis sessions. The therapist evaluates the client’s readiness and devises a treatment plan. The client and therapist select potential targets for EMDR treatment. This includes traumatic memories and present events that produce mental distress. Additional targets may include previous instances.

The focus is on developing specific skills and behaviors that the client will need in future situations.

Phase 2

In the second phase of treatment, the therapist confirms that the client has various options for dealing with emotional distress. The therapist may teach clients various imagery and stress reduction techniques that they can use during and between sessions.

The goal of EMDR treatment is for the client to experience rapid and successful transformation while remaining balanced during and between sessions.

Phases 3-6

In Phases 3-6, goals are identified and addressed using EMDR therapy. In doing so, the client identifies three things:

  • Vivid visual images associated with the memory
  • Negative beliefs about oneself
  • Associated emotions and physical sensations

Additionally, the client identifies positive beliefs. Therapists help clients evaluate the strength of their positive beliefs and negative emotions. The client is then instructed to perform her EMDR processing using a bilateral stimulus set while simultaneously focusing on images, negative thoughts, and bodily sensations. These phrases may include eye movements, taps, or sounds. The type and length of these sets vary from customer to customer. At this point, the EMDR client is introducedto simply notice everything that occurs spontaneously.

After each stimulation set, the clinician instructs the client to clear the mind and become aware of any thoughts, feelings, images, memories, or sensations that come to mind. Depending on the client’s report, the doctor chooses the next focus. These repetitive phrases that focus your attention will occur several times during the session. If a client is struggling or has difficulty making progress, the therapist follows established steps to help the client get back on track.

If the client does not report any distress associated with the goal recall, the client is asked to think about the desired positive belief identified at the beginning of the session. At this point, the client can adjust the positive belief as needed and focus on it during the next series of stressful events.

Phase 7

After Phase 7, the therapist asks the client to keep records throughout the week. Logs should record any relevant material that may occur. This helps remind the client of the self-soothing activities learned in Phase 2.

Phase 8

The next session will begin with Phase 8. Phase 8 examines progress to date. EMDR treatment deals with all relevant historical events, current events that cause stress, and future events that require different responses.

What does it feel like?

EMDR sessions usually last 60 to 90 minutes. During a session, your therapist moves their fingers side to side in front of your face for about 30 seconds at a time as you follow the fingers with your eyes. Sometimes, lights or sounds are used instead to trigger your eye movement. After each series of eye movements, your therapist will ask about your thoughts and feelings about a traumatic memory or other source of distress. You are in control the entire time, and you may find it empowering.

  • Oren, E. M. D. R., and R. Solomon. “EMDR therapy: An overview of its development and mechanisms of action.” European Review of Applied Psychology 62.4 (2012): 197-203.
  • Hase, Michael. “The structure of EMDR therapy: A guide for the therapist.” Frontiers in Psychology 12 (2021): 660753.
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