Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is gaining recognition as a viable integrative therapeutic treatment intervention.  EMDR is used to treat panic and other anxiety disorders, phobias, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addictions.  EMDR was developed in 1987 following a discovery that eye movements can reduce the severity of disturbing thoughts.  After several years of study, EMDR has evolved into a standardized form of treatment.

EMDR works by influencing how our brains process information.  When a person experiences an upsetting event, a moment in time can become fixed and the individual will relive the upsetting event or trauma over and over.  It is not uncommon for a person to actually feel the same feelings as if the event just happened.  These lasting memories have a negative effect on how we process information, how we relate to others, and how we view our world.  EMDR works by allowing the individual to process unresolved feelings related to the traumatic event through eye movements.  These eye movements allow for a reprocessing of the fixed feelings so that these negative feelings become less disruptive.

There are eight stages of treatment, which include the following:

•A thorough history of past events are reviewed and “target” events are identified as needing reprocessing.

•Preparing the individual for an EMDR session involves ensuring that the person is safe through a pre-selected “safe” image.

•The therapist will assess the person’s traumatic event and record, evaluate, and measure the negative beliefs associated with the traumatic event and a new, positive belief will be selected by the individual.

•Bilateral eye movements allow for the traumatic event to be reprocessed or desensitized.
•The individual will use the positive belief and “install” that belief during the eye movement reprocessing.

•The therapist will evaluate any residual distress through a “body scan” and if necessary, repeat the bilateral eye movements.

•The closure phase will take place at the end of each EMDR session.  Since stabilization of the traumatic event can take several sessions to process, closure is done at the end of each session through talking about the session.

•The therapist will reevaluate the negative event and the level of emotional disturbance to determine whether additional EMDR sessions are needed.

Before engaging in EMDR treatment, one should consult with a therapist who has received specialized training from an EMDR approved association.  The therapist will review the benefits and risks associated with EMDR and how treatment will be delivered.  If the individual determines that the benefits outweigh the risks, then subsequent appointments can be scheduled.

An integrative approach to treatment is necessary for healing the mind, the body, and the spirit from the effects of addiction, trauma, and mental health. Cottonwood Tucson offers critically acclaimed clinical care for men, women, and adolescents. Call us today for information on our internationally recognized programs. (888) 727-0441.

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