Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Research has established EMDR as effective for posttraumatic stress. Psychologists have successfully used EMDR in treatment of personality disorders, panic attacks, complicated grief, dissociative disorders, disturbing memories, phobias, pain disorders, eating disorders, performance anxiety, stress reduction, addictions, sexual or physical abuse and body dysmorphic disorders.
EMDR integrates elements of many effective psychotherapies to maximise treatment. These include psychodynamic, cognitive behavioural, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centred therapies. EMDR is an information processing therapy and uses an eight phase approach.
- Phase 1,2,3: Client history and treatment planning, Preparation and Assessment
- Phase 4&5:Desensitization & Installation
- Phase 6&7: Body scan and closure
- Phase 8: Re-evaluation.
Often disturbing events happen that stay with us. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
EMDR has a positive effect on how the brain processes information. Following an EMDR session, the person no longer relives the trauma. They will recall what happened, but it is not as upsetting.
During EMDR the therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem as focus for the treatment session. The client then calls to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, felt, heard, thought, etc. the therapist will then begin eye movements or other bi-lateral stimulation. These eye movements are used until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with a positive thought and belief about yourself.
One or more sessions are required for the therapist to understand the nature of the problem and to decide whether EMDR is an appropriate treatment. The type of problem, life circumstances, and the amount of previous trauma will determine how many treatment sessions are necessary.