(EMDR) Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing

Psynergy Centre Health & Wellness are proud providers of specialized therapy EMDR. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a psychotherapy approach that was developed by psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s. EMDR is primarily used to treat individuals who have experienced trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but it has also been found to be effective in treating other mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, and phobias.

The EMDR therapy process involves several key components:

  1. History and Treatment Planning: The therapist begins by taking a thorough history of the client’s trauma or other distressing experiences. Based on this information, the therapist collaborates with the client to develop a treatment plan tailored to their specific needs and goals.
  2. Client Preparation and Assessment: The therapist assesses the client’s readiness for EMDR therapy by evaluating their psychological stability, coping skills, and ability to handle distressing emotions and memories. Clients experiencing active suicidal thoughts, severe dissociation, or untreated substance abuse issues may need stabilization or alternative treatment before starting EMDR. Safety is prioritized, and the therapist collaborates with the client to establish a sense of safety and stability. This may involve teaching grounding techniques, coping skills, and relaxation exercises to manage distress during therapy. Psychoeducation is provided to explain the EMDR process, session expectations, and potential benefits and risks, ensuring the client feels informed. Coping skills are developed to manage distress during sessions, including relaxation techniques and mindfulness exercises. Clear treatment goals are established collaboratively to guide the therapy process and focus on areas for improvement. Building a strong therapeutic alliance is emphasized to create a safe space for exploring trauma-related experiences. The therapist explains the different phases of EMDR therapy, helping the client understand the treatment structure and what to expect. Open communication is encouraged throughout the assessment and preparation process to address any questions or concerns the client may have about EMDR therapy.
  3. Desensitization: During the desensitization phase, the client is asked to recall distressing memories or experiences while simultaneously focusing on external stimuli provided by the therapist. This often involves rapid lateral eye movements, auditory tones, or tactile stimulation, which are thought to facilitate the processing of traumatic memories.
  4. Reprocessing: As the client focuses on the distressing memory and the external stimuli, the therapist guides them through a process of reprocessing the memory. This may involve identifying and challenging negative beliefs or cognitive distortions associated with the trauma and replacing them with more adaptive beliefs.
  5. Installation: Once the distressing memory has been reprocessed, the therapist helps the client install positive beliefs or affirmations to replace the negative ones. This helps to strengthen the client’s sense of empowerment and resilience.
  6. Body Scan: In some cases, the therapist may guide the client through a body scan to identify and release any residual physical tension or discomfort associated with the traumatic memory.
  7. Closure: At the end of each EMDR session, the therapist helps the client stabilize their emotions and return to a state of equilibrium. This may involve relaxation techniques or grounding exercises to ensure the client feels safe and secure before ending the session.
  8. Reevaluation: Throughout the course of EMDR therapy, the therapist periodically evaluates the client’s progress and adjusts the treatment plan as needed to ensure the client is making meaningful strides toward their treatment goals.

EMDR is believed to work by facilitating the brain’s natural ability to process and integrate traumatic memories, leading to a reduction in the emotional distress and symptoms associated with trauma-related disorders. While the precise mechanisms underlying EMDR are still being studied, research has consistently demonstrated its effectiveness in treating trauma and related mental health conditions.

It’s important to note that EMDR should only be conducted by licensed mental health professionals who have received specialized training in this therapeutic approach. Additionally, EMDR is not suitable for everyone, and the appropriateness of this therapy should be determined in collaboration with a qualified mental health provider.