Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy was developed by Dr Francine Shapiro to reduce the severity of emotions associated with recall of Traumatic Events. Unlike other therapies such as TF-CBT and DBT, EMDR is focused more on the distress felt while recalling the traumatic event. As part of the treatment, a therapist uses bilateral stimulation, a pendulum like hand movement which the client follows with his/her eyes. In a state of bilateral stimulation, the therapist asks the client to recollect the distressful emotions and physical symptoms experienced during the recall of traumatic event. As the client recalls these symptoms, the therapist helps the client to transition to more positive thoughts, thereby helping them to resolve the negative and distressing emotions associated with traumatic events. More and more studies are confirming the effectiveness of EMDR in treating symptoms of PTSD and Trauma, although scientists have still not been able to zero in to the exact reasons it works. 

Psychological Conditions Where EMDR Is Helpful

Originally, EMDR was developed to treat the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and phobias. In Australia, APS recommends using EMDR for treatment of PTSD, Trauma and Depression. Elsewhere, therapists also use EMDR to treat eating disorders, schizophrenia, sexual dysfunction, and stress caused by chronic disease.

What Happens During EMDR Therapy

In the initial stages of therapy the client discusses the problems and symptoms associated with the event, without going into great details of the traumatic event. The therapist helps them focus on the negative thoughts and feelings being experienced from the triggers and memories of traumatic event and help them come to a conclusion about the relevance and validity of those thoughts and feelings to the current context. If the client feels they are not valid and relevant to current context then the therapist installs a positive template, i.e., replace the negative thoughts and feelings with positive thoughts and beliefs.

As the client progresses through therapy, he / she learns techniques to deal with the disturbing thoughts and feelings. Once the reprocessing of memory is over, the therapist moves over to the desensitisation phase.

The techniques helps in strengthening and fortifying the positive emotions and beliefs to a point where memories of the traumatic event do not cause the same distress in the present context as prior to starting the therapy.

How Does EMDR Helps

EMDR helps process past experiences and reduce the distress experienced while recalling those traumatic events. Through EMDR, negative thoughts and feelings that are irrelevant to the present context are replaced with positive thoughts and feelings that improves well being and improves social interactions and behaviour. Gradually as the therapy advances the client develops resilience and learns to cope with stressful situations themselves.

Phases of EMDR Therapy

EMDR therapy occurs in eight phases:

  1. Initial session in which the therapist notes client history and creates a treatment plan
  2. Preparation to establish trust with the client and explain EMDR steps and stages
  3. Assessment, to identify in detail the negative feelings and thoughts associated with memory of traumatic events and identify positive replacements favoured by the client
  4. Desensitization through bilateral stimulation using the eye movements
  5. Installation of positive templates
  6. Testing through Body scan, to see if the memories of trauma do not cause the same distress as previously experienced by the client
  7. Closure for every memory that is reprocessed and desensitised. It happens in the end of every session.
  8. Re-evaluation at the beginning of every new EMDR session to see if the memory processed in previous session is still not causing distress.

Do we offer EMDR

Yes, we do offer EMDR Therapy in Potentialz Unlimited. Currently Dr Gurprit Ganda is trained to offer this treatment.

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