EMDR is based on the idea that traumatic or disturbing memories are stored in the brain in a different way than normal memories, and that they can cause psychological and emotional problems when they are triggered by current situations. EMDR helps the brain process these memories and integrate them with more adaptive information, resulting in reduced distress and improved well-being.
EMDR therapy is a structured psychotherapy that involves 8 phases to help individuals heal from symptoms and emotional distress. Here is a breakdown of the process of EMDR therapy:
- History-taking: The therapist will talk to you to understand your history and what you want to work on.
- Preparation: The therapist will help you learn coping skills and relaxation techniques to get ready for the therapy.
- Assessment: Together with the therapist, you will identify the specific memory or event that is causing you distress.
- Desensitization: You will focus on the memory while the therapist guides you to move your eyes or use other forms of bilateral stimulation. This helps to reduce the intensity of the emotions connected to the memory.
- Installation: The therapist will help you replace negative beliefs about yourself with more positive ones.
- Body Scan: The therapist will help you release any residual tension or physical sensations associated with the memory.
- Closure: The therapist will help you develop a plan to manage any emotions that may come up after the therapy session.
- Reevaluation: The therapist will regularly check in with you to see how you’re doing and if you need more sessions.