More About EMDR
EMDR does not take place in one single individual therapy session. EMDR therapy follows a structured eight-step approach that includes the following:
Phase One: history-taking – During this phase of the treatment process the EMDR specialist sits down with the guest and learns about his or her personal history in depth. The specialist asks a series of questions that help illuminate personal history with substance abuse and trauma. As personal history is uncovered a personalized treatment plan is carefully developed.
Phase Two: preparing the guest for processing the memory – For people who are suffering from moderate or severe trauma, the second phase of EMDR might take longer than one session. During this phase the client learns a range of techniques that will help him or her deal with uncomfortable emotions as they arise. The EMDR specialist works to build trust during this phase, so that the guest feels comfortable opening up about past experiences.
Phase Three: assessing the memory – The guest has the opportunity to thoroughly address one target memory. In order to prevent an unnecessary reliving of this memory, the assessment is completed in a non-invasive way. Rather than focus on the traumatic experience, the specialist encourages the guest to share negative beliefs about self that might have stemmed from the experience, like, “I am unworthy of love,” “I am bad,” or “I am helpless.” One of the main goals of EMDR is to help guests let go of these negative, false and self-destructive beliefs and replace them with positive and reaffirming beliefs.
Phases Four through Seven: reprocessing the target memory to adaptive resolution – Reprocessing the memory does NOT mean reliving the memory. Steps Four through Seven can be broken down further: Desensitization, Installation, Body Scan and Closure. During these phases of the EMDR process the therapeutic work is being done, and the specialist is guiding the guest through the actual treatment.
Phase Eight: Evaluating the results of the treatment process – The beginning of each new session begins with an evaluation of past results. The EMDR specialist takes note of all areas of improvement while recognizing what experiences or negative beliefs still need to be worked through.