EMDR therapy is a powerful, bottom-up intervention to heal past trauma(s) or when someone has experienced intense overwhelm. But how does someone know they are ready for EMDR therapy? A brief overview of EMDR therapy will be provided in this blog post as well as the answer to this question.
EMDR therapy is an 8-phase protocol and these need to be completed in sequential order. This is due to the fact that each skill builds on one another. If one phase is skipped, EMDR therapy may inadvertently shut the client down (more on this later). The EMDR protocol consists of the 8 following phases:
- History taking and treatment planning – the therapist gathers relevant historical information and assesses for the presence of dissociation.
- Preparation – the client and therapist engage in dual awareness skill building to manage stressors in life, as well as distressing material that arises during desensitization and/or reprocessing.
- Assessment – the client and therapist identify a specific memory for reprocessing/desensitization
- Desensitization/Reprocessing – this is when memories are targeted with eye movements or tapping.
- Installing a Positive Cognition (PC) – this is done after a past memory has been reprocessed or desensitized to a disturbance level of 0.
- Body scan – the client scans their body to see if any body sensations arise after the PC is installed.
- Closure – the therapist will remind the client of the skills the client can use to manage continued reprocessing between sessions.
- Reevaluation – this occurs next session to determine if new distressing material arose since the last EMDR therapy session.
Many people are eager to jump into phase four of EMDR reprocessing. Although this motivation is beneficial and can be a tailwind down the road, it can be detrimental in the short-term. The EMDR therapist needs to ensure the client is able to maintain what’s called dual awareness (paying attention to the present moment and simultaneously noticing a past traumatic memory). If not, the client’s nervous system will become overwhelmed and that client may dissociate. Wanting and being eager to heal is fantastic; however, we need to make sure the skills are there to lean on when the need arises. And EMDR readiness and therapy for that matter takes time. Patience is essential within EMDR therapy.
Do I need EMDR therapy?
An EMDR therapist can support healing from many challenges, not only trauma or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). EMDR therapy can also help one heal from:
- Anxiety – processing through a person’s desire for control or needing certainty
- Depression – especially if depression relates to past encounters that overwhelmed the nervous system
- Substance Use – decreasing urges to need and use substances
- Personality Disorders – a large majority of personality disorders are underpinned by childhood trauma
- Self-Harm and Suicidal Thoughts – EMDR therapy can help process the reasons for these behaviors as well as the guilt and shame that often accompany these experiences
EMDR Therapist in Glendale, CO
At Revitalize Mental Health PLLC, we are trained in EMDR therapy and have witnessed first-hand its powerful healing capabilities. To read more on EMDR therapy click here to check out EMDR (International Association)’s website for more information. If you or someone you care about could benefit from work with an EMDR therapist in Glendale, click here to submit an online form or call us at 720.295.6703 to start the process of recovery.