At Trinity Teen Solutions, one of the treatment therapies utilized is EMDR. I was curious myself as to what EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, actually entails. So I did some research to make this subject more approachable and to make clear why EMDR may be an effective solution for clients. So, we can take a deep breath together and take the fear out of what may sound foreign and overly sterilized.
EMDR is a highly effective form of psychotherapy dealing with trauma. At Trinity Teen Solutions, the emphasis is on healing from the trauma of rape, molestation, neglect, abandonment and other traumatic events. It utilizes psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies. This very thorough treatment is ideal for reprogramming thought patterns and taking the irrational fears out of normal situations. It is cleansing, healing, and empowering for the client. In other words, EMDR provides someone formerly traumatized with a full and complete recovery and an integration back into a healthy lifestyle.
There are eight phases of treatment cycling through the entire spectrum of experience in order to provide a thorough evaluation. In basic detail, they are as follows.
Phase 1: HIstory and Treatment Planning
The therapist will guide a discussion on the client’s history and traumatic experiences. This can take as long as the client needs and will set the pace for the following treatments. The client can give as much or as little information as they feel comfortable with, so long as the therapist has an idea of the trauma they are working with and how it affected the client. The treatment plan will be specialized to target the specific areas the client needs to progress toward holistic well-being.
Phase 2: Preparation
This phase of treatment mainly establishes the client and therapist relationship. Trust must be built for the therapist as a facilitator and guide for the client’s journey. The therapist will teach the client skills to overcome emotional disturbances during the process and relaxation techniques to use throughout life during stressful moments. The therapist will explain the theory and assure the client of its effectiveness.
Phase 3: Assessment
In this phase of therapy, the deep-seated feelings associated with the trauma are brought to light. The therapist helps the client find the negative feelings and verbalize it into a negative cognition. Common phrases might be “I am bad,” “I am worthless,” “I am dirty,” or “I am unlovable.” The client will then record how true they feel the statement is on a standardized scale. Then, they will find the inverse positive cognition to repeat, such as, “I have infinite worth,” or “I am safe.” Then, they will record how true they feel this statement is on the same scale. This process will repeat for a few days until the client and therapist are ready to move onto the next phase.
Phase 4: Desensitization
Once the target emotions and positive cognitions are recognized, it is time for desensitization. Now, the client will be led through a series of eye movements associated with the target emotions until change of focus occurs.
Phase 5: Installation
In the phase of installation, the client focuses and strengthens belief in their positive affirmation until the truth is fully valid.
Phase 6: Body Scan
The residual physical effects from the original event still reside, so the client must now recall the event while the therapist helps them verbalize and rewrite the physical effects into a narrative that is true.
Phase 7: Closure
It is important for the client to feel equilibrium at the end of each session. They must go out feeling better than they came in. At this stage of the process, if these feelings have not already been established throughout the process, they are now appraised.
Phase 8: Reevaluation
The therapist will evaluate the client, making sure they have found true healing, and revisit any of the phases that need more reprocessing. This phase should occur at the beginning of every session from here on out.
Ultimately, EMDR therapy is about full and complete healing. It is irrelevant how long it takes, as long as the client has experienced thorough change. This method has been proven very effective and provides lasting change and hope for its recipients.