Updated: Feb 19
EMDR therapy was first developed in 1987 by psychologist Francine Shapiro upon noticing that certain eye movements reduced the intensity of disturbing thought. This led to the development of a new type of psychotherapy known as EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
EMDR therapy has become a more common treatment in recent years as a treatment option for people suffering from:
EMDR therapy is a phased and focused approach to treat trauma and other symptoms by reconnecting with the client in a safe and measured way.
EMDR helps the person associated with trauma, and allows the natural healing powers of the brain to move towards an adaptive resolution.
In EMDR therapy sessions, you relive traumatic or triggering experiences in brief doses while the therapist directs your eye movements. This allows you to be exposed to the memories or thoughts without having a strong psychological response. Over time this technique is believed to lessen the impact that the memories or thoughts have on you.
An EMDR treatment session consists of eight essential phases :
PHASE 1: History and treatment planning
The First phase of EMDR treatment includes an evaluation of client safety factors . This will determine client selection, including the client’s ability to withstand the potentially high levels of disturbance by the reprocessing.
PHASE 2: Preparation
Your therapist will then help you learn several different ways to cope with the emotional or psychological stress you’re experiencing. Stress management techniques such as deep breathing and mindfulness may be used.
PHASE 3: Assessment
During the third phase of EMDR treatment, your therapist will identify the components of target and all the associated components (such as the physical sensations that are stimulated when you concentrate on an event) for each target memory.
PHASES 4-7: Treatment
In this desensitization phase, the client's disturbing event is evaluated to change the trauma-related sensory experiences and associations.
Your therapist will then begin using EMDR therapy techniques to treat your targeted memories. During these sessions, you will be asked to focus on a negative thought, memory, or an image.
Your therapist will simultaneously have you do specific eye movements. The client is asked to attend both the target image and eye movement simultaneously and is instructed to have openness to whatever happens.
PHASE 8: Evaluation
In the final phase, you’ll be asked to evaluate your progress after these sessions. Your therapist will also perform an evaluation from their end.
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