EMDR Therapy Session
What is EMDR? (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
PSYCHOLOGYTLS Introduction Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy approach designed for working with distressing or traumatic memories. The theory behind EMDR is that many psychological difficulties are the result of distressing life experiences which have not been stored in memory properly and are said to be unprocessed or blocked. These traumatic memories may need some help to become processed, and EMDR therapy session is one way to do this.
We work to help patients understand that anger is a normal emotions, which only becomes problematic when they are aggressive and engage in behavior that causes damage or injury. We help them understand the cyle of anger by identifying their own early warning signs, events and situations which serve as triggers for them and negative thoughts that escalate their anger into aggression, emotinal reactions which fuel the situation and unhealthy behaviors. Next we help individuals learn important anger management skills including recognizing their anger early, various methods of self-calming, how to use time outs effectively, how to increase their resilience and anger threshold so they are not so easily upset, to anticipate consequences, how to express their anger assertively and how to brainstorm solutions to the problems that confront them.
- Normally memories are filed away by the hippocampus
- Some experiences are so overwhelming the memories are not stored properly
What will I be asked to do in an EMDR session?
There are a number of steps to EMDR treatment, but some of the key stages are to:
1. Preparation Phase
- Think of a troubling memory, then identify an image of the worst moment of that memory
- Identify a negative belief about that worst moment (the therapist may ask “what is the worst thing that moment says about you?”)
- Identify emotions and bodily feelings linked to that moment
2. Processing Phase
- Think about the image & belief while at the same time making left-to-right eye movements (or while paying attention to tapping sensations or sounds that are alternately given from left-to-right)
- To allow your mind to ‘go with’ whatever comes up and just notice what happens
- This process will be repeated until the memory causes less distress (this may happen in one session, or may take more than one session)
Why do I need to make eye movements?
In EMDR you are asked to pay attention from one side to another while thinking about your memory. One way to pay attention from left to right is to follow the therapist’s finger as they move it from side-to-side in your line of vision. Alternative versions of EMDR ask you to pay attention to sounds or tapping sensations which occur in sequence from left to right.
This side-to-side motion is called bilateral stimulation. It has been found to enhance memory processing and there are a number of theories explaining how it might do this. The important thing is to be able to nd a form of bilateral stimulation that you are comfortable with.
What is EMDR used to treat?
This is very good evidence that EMDR is an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and it is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for PTSD. The evidence for using EMDR to treat other disorders is less clear. EMDR may be an effective treatment for other conditions, particularly if they involve trauma memories or other distressing memories, but more research is needed.
How long does treatment take?
EMDR therapy sessions are sometimes slightly longer than typical therapy sessions (up to 90 minutes). The number of sessions needed will depend on the type and severity of trauma which you experienced. NICE estimate that 8-12 sessions may be necessary to treat simpler traumas, with more sessions necessary for multiple traumas.