How is EMDR Different from Other Therapies?
EMDR therapy is different from other therapies that focus on modifying emotions and thoughts associated with traumatic memories; EMDR targets the memory itself and works to change the way the memory gets stored in the brain resulting in a reduction or elimination of problematic symptoms. The Adaptive Processing model recognizes PTSD symptoms to be a result of past disturbing experiences that have not been sufficiently processed which results in distressing symptoms.
So how does EMDR work? EMDR therapy incorporates rapid eye movements with other types of rhythmic left-right (bilateral) stimulation like tones or taps. Bilateral stimulation is also known as BLS. The idea is that while focusing on the trauma memory while concurrently experiencing bilateral stimulation, the emotion and richness of the memory are decreased.
The Structure of EMDR Therapy
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy is highly structured and operates in eight different phases, each of which will be explored further.
Phase 1: History taking and treatment planning. This includes a full and comprehensive assessment and working with your therapist to identify targets for treatment, including future goals, current triggers, and disturbing memories.
Phase 2: Preparation. The therapist introduces you to EMDR treatment, orients you to EMDR procedures, practicing the eye movement, and other components; the therapist confirms that you have adequate skills for emotional management and leads the client through the Safe/Calm Place exercise. Our EMDR therapists in Phoenix are highly trained in providing you with the necessary tools and techniques to manage emotions during the EMDR process.
Phase 3: Assessing the target memory. Through assessment, the target memory is activated by identifying and targeting components of the memory such as cognition, imagery, body sensation, and affect; Subjective Units of Disturbance (SUD) and Validity of Cognition (VOC) are evaluative tools to measure changes in thoughts and feelings.
Phases 4-7: Processing the memory through adaptive resolution. This includes desensitization, installation, body scan, and closure.
Phase 4: Desensitization. You focus on the traumatic memory while engaging in eye movements and report whatever new thoughts have emerged to your therapist.
Phase 5: Installation. The preferred positive cognition/thought is strengthened.
Phase 6: Body scan. You are asked to observe your physical reactions while thinking about the memory and positive thought, as well as any outstanding somatic reaction.
Phase 7: Closure. Closure ends the session and if the memory hasn’t been fully processed and resolved in session, instructions are given to ensure safety and provide containment until the next session.
Phase 8: Re-evaluation. The therapist assesses your present psychological state, the effectiveness of treatment, whether treatment effects have been sustained, new memories that have appeared, and identifies targets for the current session.
Length of EMDR Therapy in Phoenix, AZ
EMDR is rather brief in length. Sessions are usually conducted 1-2 times per week for a total of 6-12 sessions. Your frequency of sessions may vary, and the number of sessions you require may be less than 6, depending on your symptoms and objectives.