About EMDR

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing

"EMDR therapy is an extensively researched, effective psychotherapy method proven to help people recover from trauma and other distressing life experiences, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and panic disorders." (EMDRIA)

EMDR is an evidence-based, well researched therapy that changes the way traumatic material is stored in the body. It is considered a memory reconsolidation therapy where disturbing material/memories are activated in the working memory. Pressure is then placed in the working memory to desensitize the material. It is then reprocessed so that it is now stored in an adaptive way and is no longer traumatic.

Prince Harry talks about healing through EMDR

EMDR is a therapy used to treat many symptoms including triggers. In this case, being triggered by several things including flying to the location associated with trauma.

More about EMDR

EMDR was initially developed as a trauma therapy for PTSD. It now has many other application such as anxiety, panic, phobias and more.

EMDR is an 8-Phase process

It is important that the 8-phases of EMDR are adhered to in the therapeutic process. These phases are:

1. History

2. Preparation

3. Assessment

4. Desensitization

5. Installation

6. Body Scan

7. Closure

8. Reevaluation.

Each phase does not represent one session.

A typical EMDR therapy session lasts from 60-90 minutes. It could take one or several sessions to process one traumatic experience.

The goal of EMDR therapy is to completely process the traumatic experiences that are causing problems and to include new ones needed for full health. The amount of time it will take to complete EMDR treatment for traumatic experiences will depend upon the client’s history. Complete treatment of a single EMDR trauma target involves a three-pronged protocol to alleviate the symptoms and address the complete clinical picture. The three prongs include:

1. Past memories

2. Present disturbance

3. Future actions

Although EMDR therapy may produce results more rapidly than other forms of therapy, speed is not the goal of therapy, and it is essential to remember that every client has different needs. For instance, one client may take weeks to establish sufficient feelings of trust (Phase 2), while another may proceed quickly through the first six phases of treatment only to reveal something even more important that needs treatment. (EMDRIA)

8 Phases of EMDR

Phase 1 - History and Treatment Planning

This phase generally takes 1-2 sessions at the beginning of therapy. In the first phase of EMDR treatment, the therapist takes a thorough history of the client and develops a treatment plan.

Phase 2 - Preparation

For most clients, this phase will take between 1-4 sessions. For others with a very traumatized background or with certain diagnoses, a longer time may be necessary. In this phase, the therapist will teach you some specific techniques so you can rapidly deal with any emotional disturbance that may arise. The therapist will teach the client various relaxation techniques for calming him or herself in the face of any emotional disturbance that may arise during or after a session.

Phase 3 - Assessment

In this phase, the client will be prompted to access each target in a controlled and standardized way to be effectively processed. Processing does not mean talking about it.

Phase 4 - Desensitization

During desensitization, the therapist leads the person in sets of eye movements, sounds, or taps with appropriate shifts and changes of focus until the material focused on is no longer disturbing.

Phase 5 - Installation

The goal is to concentrate on and increase the strength of the positive belief that the client has identified to replace his or her original negative belief associated with the trauma.

Phase 6 - Body Scan

After the positive cognition has been strengthened and installed, the therapist will ask the person to bring the original target event to mind and see if any residual tension is noticed in the body. If so, these physical sensations are then targeted for reprocessing.

Phase 7 - Closure

Ends every treatment session. It ensures that the person leaves feeling better at the end of each session than at the beginning. If the processing of the traumatic target event is not complete in a single session, the therapist will assist the client in using a variety of self-calming techniques in order to regain a sense of equilibrium.

Phase 8 - Reevaluation

Opens every new session. It guides the therapist through the treatment plans needed to deal with the client’s problems. As with any form of sound therapy, the Reevaluation Phase is vital to determine the success of the treatment over time.