How does EMDR work?
The eight-phase treatment involves bilateral stimulation, most commonly eye movements, during one part of the session. Tapping and hand buzzers are also effective.
Phase 1: The client tells their story and this is when the therapist decides whether EMDR might be helpful.
Phase 2: Stress reduction techniques are used to help regulate emotions.
Phases 3-6: A target is identified. The client identifies a visual image related to the memory, a negative belief about themselves, related emotions and body sensations.
In addition, the client identifies a positive belief. The therapist helps the client rate the positive belief as well as the intensity of the negative emotions. After this, 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. At this point, the EMDR client is instructed to just notice whatever spontaneously happens.
After each set of stimulation, the clinician instructs the client to let his/her mind go blank and to notice whatever thought, feeling, image, memory, or sensation comes to mind. When the client reports no distress related to the targeted memory, (s)he is asked to think of the preferred positive belief that was identified at the beginning of the session.
Phase 7: In phase seven the client keeps a log during the week of anything that might arise connected to the processing.
Phase 8: The next session begins with phase eight, examining the progress made thus far.
For more information and current research go to (www.emdrassociation.org.uk).