EMDR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

What is EMDR Therapy?

young woman in EMDR therapyEye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is utilized in our inpatient trauma treatment center. EMDR therapy is a breakthrough in trauma psychotherapy, and millions of people have been successfully treated over the past 25 years. Our therapists will work with clients to access and process traumatic memories and other adverse life experiences in order to assess an adaptive resolution. When left untreated, trauma and emotional distress may never be resolved. However, with trauma treatment such as EMDR therapy, the mind can heal from mental trauma just as the body can heal from physical trauma. The brain’s information processing system attempts to heal the mind but may become hindered by a traumatic event. With help from our expert staff and the EMDR therapy program, this hindrance can be overcome and the brain can begin its natural healing process.

EMDR therapy is mainly used to treat trauma, but it may also help with anxiety, addiction, and eating disorders.

EMDR Treatment

During EMDR treatment, the client will focus on a traumatic memory while their eyes track the therapist’s hand movements. This bilateral stimulation is related to Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep functions and helps the client process their memories. In contrast to standard PTSD treatments, EMDR not only closes mental wounds, it transforms them into personal empowerment. EMDR therapy consists of eight treatment phases. This treatment has been clinically proven to be safe with no side effects.

Phase 1 – In phase one of EMDR treatment, the therapist gathers information from the client about their history and traumas. A custom treatment plan will be developed in this phase. The number of treatments administered in phase one depends on the level of trauma, the number of traumas, and the age of PTSD onset. Light trauma can generally be treated in a few hours, while heavier trauma victims may require multiple sessions.

Phase 2 – Phase two prepares the client for the treatment by teaching them techniques for coping with any emotional discomfort that may arise. This stage is also used to foster trust between the therapist and client. The therapist will explain the EMDR process in great detail so the client will be informed, relaxed, and confident during treatment.

Phase 3-6 – EMDR therapy is officially administered during phases three through six. The client will identify and focus on a vivid image of their trauma, a specific area of negative self-image, and any related emotions and sensations. While thinking deeply about these elements, the therapist will initiate bilateral stimulation for a certain amount of time. After each stimulation, the client will be instructed to let their mind go blank. A positive belief will replace the negative feelings related to trauma.

Phase 7 – Phase seven is when clients find closure from their emotional distress. They will keep a journal or log during the following weeks to record any negative emotions that may arise. During this phase, the client should employ the self-calming exercises learned in phase two.

Phase 8 – Phase eight evaluates the progress made by the patient and identifies any areas that need to be re-treated. If the client has multiple traumas, this phase will identify those areas and the process will begin again with a new target trauma. After successful treatment with EMDR therapy, patients will achieve physiological reconciliation, relieved distress, and the ability to reformulate negative beliefs.

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