Eye movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR Therapy) is a type of psychotherapy that helps the brain to thoroughly process and heal the symptoms and emotional distress that result from trauma and disturbing life experiences. Sometimes in an effort to protect itself the brain can create a “block” in the mental process when experiencing emotional duress-thus not allowing the brain to fully process the event in understanding that the brain and body are no longer in a state of fear/survival. EMDR therapy allows the clinician to access that block in a safe environment with the client and complete the processing where healing can resume through mind and body.
What you will experience:
During EMDR therapy the client will be asked to discuss emotionally disturbing events. The therapist will direct the client in following a sequence of bilateral stimulation through lateral eye movements,butterfly tapping or audio stimulation. The process includes addressing past,present and future events: those that have created the foundation for the negative belief or dysfunction, targeting current distressing circumstances and identifying internal as well as external triggers to be desensitized and creating stronger more adaptive neural pathways through imaginative templates of. Future events to assist in strengthening the clients skills necessary for more adaptive functioning and responses.
Phase 1: Treatment planning and patient history
Learning about the clients needs, tolerance in the clients ability to tolerate exposure in distressing memories/events and collecting patient history.
Phase 2: Preparation for EMDR therapy
Building rapport between client and clinician that establishes safety for the client as trust is an important piece to treatment outcomes. Client will be educated about coping strategies and thoroughly resourced in grounding techniques to help the client cope with treatment and communicate with their clinician effectively.
Phase 3: Patient assessment
During this stage, the clinician will identify the exact traumatic memory that causes negative symptoms for the patient. It is important to understand every minute detail of the event to successfully breakthrough with the patient.
Phase 4-phase 7: The processing
The therapist and client will work together as a team within these steps to alleviate the possible mental and physical discomfort the patient may experience as they revisit their trauma and become activated-these steps are where the client will actively work through their traumas and actively process.
Phase 4: Desensitization
The desensitization phase is critical to the therapy having a successful outcome. The therapist will assist in helping the client talk through their traumatic experience whilst redirecting the main focus of their brain through eye movements. This stage involves teaching the patient how to reduce their reaction to the traumatic memory; this may include physical sensations that can occur when triggered, such as:
Sweating Heaviness in parts of the body Rapid heart rate Nausea Trembling
Phase 5: Installation
The goal during this stage is to strengthen new neural pathways with a more adaptive positive belief. The goal is to help the client be able to more effectively deal with situations when they are triggered and not to mentally or physically shut down when becoming overwhelmed or activated when confronted with negative feelings.
Phase 6: Patient body scan
Body scanning is a meditative technique where the clinician and client will scan the patient’s entire body to ensure that there are no re-occurring physical sensations when they are reliving their traumatic event.
Phase 7: Therapy closure
At the end of every treatment session, there is a closure section. This can be equated to having a physical injury- we don’t walk around with open wounds because if it gets poked or touched it feels raw and hurts because it is sensitive so you stitch it up so that it can heal and be protected. The closure session is a similar process but for the brains emotional wounds. This allows the client to leave each session feeling overall more optimistic about their treatment and future.
Phase 8: Re-evaluation of the patient
The next session will always start with a re-evaluation. The therapist will evaluate the patient’s current psychological state and go forward with how they believe the patient is improving.
How long does it take?
On average EMDR will usually take between 3-12 sessions lasting 60-90 minutes each seeing the clinician 1-2 times per week. The amount of sessions can vary depending on single incident trauma vs multiple traumatic events that may need to be processed. According to the EMDR Institute (https://www.emdr.com/efficacy/) in a study conducted testing the efficacy of EMDR on combat veterans in treatment for PTSD after 12 treatment sessions over 77.77% no longer met the criteria for PTSD and maintained their results in follow ups conducted between 3-9 months.
Rates: $200 per session