The Eight Steps of EMDR Therapy
In order to conduct an effective, transformative EMDR session, there are a number of steps that the client and the mental health professional have to take.
Phase One: Client History and Treatment Planning
The first phase is a history-taking session. This includes sharing your mental health history and possibly some medical history. Our therapists will gain a stronger understanding of you and you needs while also assessing your readiness and develop a treatment plan.
Phase Two: Preparation
During the second phase of treatment, the therapist puts forth reasonable expectations and helps ensure that you have different ways of handling emotional distress between sessions. Some of these coping skills include guided imagery or mindfulness, to name a few.
Phase Three: Assessment
In phase three, you and your therapist will determine a specific memory to recall for the session. Once the recalling begins, you will be instructed how to replace negative reactions and thoughts to this memory with positive ones.
Phase Four: Desensitization
As the chosen memory is being recalled, phase four can begin. This occurs when the therapist encourages you to continually recall this memory and take note of the thoughts that come along with it while looking at a light, being tapped, or undergoing another somatic action.
Phase Five: Installation
The therapist, having helped you recall the desired memory and desensitize you to it, will then work to install positive beliefs into your thought process surrounding the memory. This is done in an effort to replace the negative reactions associated with the memory.
Phase Six: Body Scan
You will be asked to take a scan of your body, meaning that you should take time to think of what your physical response to this memory is. You might feel tightness in your chest, a pounding heart beat, or a knot in your stomach. Vocalizing what you come up with during the body scan allows the therapist to help you begin altering your physical response.
Phase Seven: Closure
In phase seven, closure, the therapist will close out the session by helping you activate some techniques that can keep you emotionally stable and comfortable. The therapist may ask you to keep a log during the week. The log should document anything related that may arise.
Phase 8: Reevaluation
The final phase consists of examining the progress made thus far. You and your therapist will discuss where you have found success and what areas still need further work.
Benefits of EMDR Therapy
As mentioned before, EMDR therapy is an evidence-based treatment, which means that it has been studied and proven effective in treating trauma and other related disorders. It is commonly used in addiction treatment centers, as nearly half of all recovering addicts and alcoholics have a mental illness and/or a history of trauma.
Some of the ways that EMDR benefits individuals include the following:
- Reduces symptoms related to anxiety, depression, and panic disorder, three of the most common mental illnesses in the country
- Offers a non-pharmacological alternative to helping treat symptoms of a mental illness or trauma
- Reduces stress, which improves heart health as well as general wellness
- Helps individuals process big, overwhelming emotions in a more manageable, comfortable manner
EMDR can help you address the underlying issues related to your substance use disorder, a mental illness, and/or a traumatic experience that is standing in the way of your success and wellbeing.
Our certified EMDR counselors will help you heal from your substance use disorder.
Call us right now if you would like to learn more about EMDR therapy or incorporate it into your treatment program. Our certified and licensed counselors will discuss with you if you’re a good candidate for it and guide you through the process as part of your outpatient addiction rehab.