EMDR Therapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps people overcome emotional trauma. It’s often used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, but it can also be helpful for anxiety disorders, depression and phobias.
The technique uses eye movements and sounds to focus the patient’s attention on specific memories or incidents. It also changes the way the brain stores memory.
First, the therapist takes a detailed history and conducts an assessment to find out what has caused the patient’s distress. He or she then creates a plan for the session that targets specific memories or incidents.
Phase 1: EMDR History and Assessment
In the initial phase of treatment, the therapist takes a full history of the client’s experience and conducts an assessment to find out what is contributing to their distress. They also explore current triggers and set goals for the next sessions.
After completing the history and assessment, the therapist guides the client through eye movement exercises and other coping strategies. The client is instructed to keep a diary of feelings and thoughts that arise between sessions to help them cope with their emotions.
Phase 2: Resource Building
In this stage, the therapist works to help the client build a foundation of resources that they can use to address their distress. They discuss how the client has coped in the past with traumatic memories and events, and help them learn to recognize and manage their emotional responses.
This process can be a long one, and it requires patience on the part of the patient. Patients must be willing to share details of their traumatic experiences, and they should be prepared for some level of discomfort during the process.
Phase 3: Image and Statement (IVS) and Disturbance Measurement (DQ)
In phase three, the client selects an image of a traumatic memory to work with in the session. They also select a statement that expresses their belief about the image. The therapist measures the client’s subjective discomfort with the image and the statement, and then uses this information to assess whether EMDR Therapy is helping to change the patient’s belief.
The goal is to reduce the patient’s subjective discomfort and improve their VOC, or Validity of Cognition. When this is successful, the patient can begin to feel comfortable describing their experience without the negative thoughts and feelings associated with it.
The therapist may also ask the patient to participate in some other types of mental exercise during this phase, such as meditation or breathing techniques. These techniques can be practiced before the next EMDR session begins and are designed to help the patient manage their emotions and body sensations between sessions.