What is Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing?
EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy modality that has been shown to be effective with individuals who have experienced large "T" traumas (ex. car accident, combat) and small "t" traumas (ex. invalidating environment). It has eight phases of treatment including case conceptualization, treatment planning and information processing referred to as "Adaptive Information Processing" (AIP). AIP helps to transform traumatic maladaptive memories into adaptive memories using bilateral stimulation including eye movements and tapping.
By learning new ways to cope and manage emotions in the presence of a trusted other, the client becomes able to rebuild a healthier perspective of the world and his or her self. In the assessment stage, the client will discuss their target memory along with any symptoms, negative thoughts or beliefs they may still be experiencing as a result of the traumatic experience.
The intervention includes an intervention where the therapist guides the client’s eye movements from side to side using their fingers or even a light bar. They may even use tactile pulsers, or tappers as they are commonly called, which are placed in the hands for bilateral stimulation. The therapist will then guide the client through a process known as desensitization to help you fully process your negative feelings and begin to recognize that you no longer need to hold on to some of them. Once the experience is processed, future sessions are devoted to reinforcing and strengthening positive feelings and beliefs, and a client may even be able to think about the memory without experiencing the negative thoughts and emotions that brought them to therapy in the first place.
Click the links below to find out more about EMDR.