In my counseling practice, I frequently use EMDR II as I work with my clients in Durango, Colorado and Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
I received my training and certification in EMDR II (advanced training) in 1995. Throughout the course of the past 18 years it is the therapy I’ve used the most in my practice in the treatment of painful memories, trauma, PTSD, anxiety, depression, pain management and anger management. This therapy has proven very successful in the treatment of these issues. I’ve integrated spirituality and energy healing into my EMDR II sessions for many years and found this integration to be especially helpful going beyond my initial training in the results it has achieved for my clients.
The goal of EMDR therapy is to help the client process distressing memories. This is achieved by letting the brain’s information processing system make new internal connections. EMDR was developed by Francine Shapiro, a therapist who discovered if she moved her eyes back and forth while recalling disturbing memories, the next time she had thoughts about the same event, they were not as disturbing to her.
EMDR can help clients heal from a variety of mental disturbances. There are numerous documented cases in which EMDR has been useful in treating disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, trauma, depression and phobias. More studies are required to explain why EMDR therapy is effective (the same is true for many pharmacological therapies). EMDR is recommended by the American Psychiatric Association, Department of Defense, International Society of Traumatic Studies and other organizations worldwide for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Here is a summary of each of the eight phases of EMDR therapy:
Phase I: During the first phase, the client will share their current symptoms and earlier experiences that might have influenced the current symptoms. Over a few sessions, the treatment plan will be discussed. The therapist will identify potential targets (disturbing experiences) to focus on. The goal of this phase can typically be achieved in two visits.
Phase II: The second phase of EMDR is preparation, which is crucial for the success of this therapy. The goal of Phase II is to build a trusting relationship between client and therapist. It is not necessary for a client to describe disturbing experiences in great detail at this point. If a client feels they can trust the EMDR therapist, then the therapy can proceed fruitfully. The goals of this phase can be usually be achieved in three or four visits.
During this phase, the clinician will help the client by teaching them specific techniques to deal with any emotional disturbance that may arise. These techniques are called coping methods or resourcing. Resourcing teaches clients how to get in touch with their internal resources. One way the therapist might do this is through guided imagery. The client will be asked to identify a “safe place,” which can be an image or memory which evokes comfortable feelings and a positive sense of self. This safe place can be used to help a client tolerate a particularly difficult session. The therapist might teach breathing techniques or other relaxation methods as well. The client is then prepared for memory processing.
Phase III: During this phase, a target is developed for EMDR. An image is identified, along the negative cognition or negative statement that feels true when the target image is focused on. A positive cognition is also identified. This will be preferable to the negative statement.
Phase IV: During this phase, the therapist will ask the client to simultaneously identify the negative image, cognition, disturbing emotion or sensation. The therapist will usually ask the client to follow a moving object with his or her eyes. The client will be asked about their thoughts and their distress level.
Phase V: Known as the “installation phase,” when the client reaches this stage, they will recall the positive cognition to hold alongside the negative cognition. A new set of movements are used for the eyes to follow.
Phase VI: The therapist will scan the client’s body for any pain or stress. If there is any pain, the client will be asked to focus on the location of the pain.
Phase VII: The therapist will give the client information and support.
Phase VIII: Reevaluation of the experience. The client will report any new experiences.
If you would like to discuss how EMDR II can help you, please give me a call at 970-422-6102 for a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation.