Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR therapy includes a set of standardized protocols that incorporate elements from many different treatment approaches.

The Eight Phases of EMDR

Phase One: Client History and Treatment Planning

Phase Two: Preparation

 

The preparation phase includes establishing a therapeutic relationship, briefing the client on the theory of EMDR and the procedures it involves, offering some helpful metaphors to encourage successful processing, and training the client in a variety of self-control techniques in order to deal with the disturbing information that may arise during and between sessions. EMDR is an interactive model that strives to help the client develop a sense of empowerment and control.

 

Phase Three: Assessment

 

The clinician identifies the components of the target. Once the memory is identified, the client selects the image that represents the memory, negative cognition, emotions and body sensations associated with the memory. The assessment stage offers a baseline of response regarding to the target memory, and the specific components necessary to complete processing.

Phase Four: Desensitization

The client is instructed to focus on the image, negative thought, and body sensations while simultaneously engaging in EMDR processing using sets of bilateral stimulation. These sets may include eye movements, auditory, or tactile. The type and length of these sets are different for each client. At this point, the client is instructed to just notice whatever spontaneously happens.

Phase Five: Installation

 

The fifth phase of the treatment is called installation because the focus is on "installing" and increasing the strength of the positive cognition that the client has identified to replace the original negative cognition.

 

Phase Seven: Closure

 

The client will be returned to a state of equilibrium at the end of each session, regardless of whether reprocessing is complete. A variety of self-control techniques may be used to close the session. In addition, the client is briefed on what to expect between sessions, and in the use of a journal to report on the experience.

 

Phase Eight: Reevaluation

The next session begins with phase eight. Phase eight consists of examining the progress made thus far. The EMDR treatment processes all related historical events, current incidents that elicit distress, and future events that will require different responses

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