Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is a structured therapy for trauma that has been shown to effectively alleviate symptoms of PTSD. EMDR is different than many other exposure and processing-based trauma therapies in that it does not involve extended exposure or detailed recounting of the trauma, nor are there any homework assignments. Rather, EMDR aims to directly influence the neurological mechanisms involved with memory storage. While the client briefly focuses on the traumatic memory, the therapist guides the client through exercises that initiate bilateral stimulation of the brain, including eye movements and other forms of rhythmic left-right (bilateral) stimulation (e.g., tones or taps). Research suggests that this bilateral stimulation effectively reduces the vividness and emotional intensity of the distressing memory.
EMDR therapy uses a structured eight-phase approach that includes:
- Phase 1: History-taking
- Phase 2: Preparing the client
- Phase 3: Assessing the target memory
- Phases 4-7: Processing the memory to adaptive resolution
- Phase 8: Evaluating treatment results
It is typically carried out once or twice weekly over six to twelve sessions, though some people experience benefits in as few as three sessions.
If you are experiencing intrusive and vivid memories of trauma, contact us today to see if EMDR might be the right option for you.