EMDR therapy is a very powerful therapeutic technique that helps to heal at the deepest level. Incorporating EMDR therapy has transformed my clinical practice in working with those who struggle with an emotional attachment to food, eating disorders, negative body image, anxiety and PTSD. EMDR therapy allows a reduction in emotional and physical distress, increased self-awareness and a renewed perspective on the present moment. I have been especially inspired by the power of EMDR when women feel a deeper sense of self-acceptance both internally and externally. This renewed self-acceptance and awareness creates a deeper connection to the core of their being as well as a sense of balance and peace within.
According to EMDR International Association:
"Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma, anxiety, eating disorders, and many other mental health conditions.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting.
EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way."
EMDR is an 8-Phase therapeutic technique, here is an overview of the 8-phases and what you can expect when participating in EMDR therapy:
PHASE 1: The first phase is all about learning about your history and planning for treatment. We will determine if EMDR will be effective for you.
PHASE 2: The second phase is preparation and includes resourcing and grounding techniques which prepare you for the emotional work of EMDR. One of the benefits and essential components of EMDR is developing the ability to change states. This means that in a session if you experience emotional distress you are able to reground and return to your emotional baseline.
PHASE 3: The third phase is assessment where we target the specific memories that have either created or reinforced negative cognitions and beliefs about yourself. These memories are given a number on a subjective distress scale in order for you to witness the shift that occurs through the powerful work of EMDR.
PHASE 4: The fourth phase is desensitization. This is where the bilateral stimulation happens and you work with the memories, negative cognitions and begin to desensitize to the distressing memories, thoughts, feelings and body sensations.
PHASE 5: The fifth phase is installation of a new strength or positive statement and cognition. The positive cognitions are given a number on a subjective validity of cognition scale in order to assure that it is able to fully “install” as new, healthy belief about yourself.
PHASE 6: The sixth phase is a body scan. This is an exercise where you mentally scan your body when thinking about the original distressing memory in order to ensure that your body is not holding onto any residual distress from the memory. The mind-body connection and mindfulness are essential components of EMDR.
PHASE 7: The seventh phase is closure which is used in every session regardless of whether the distress level has been completely evaluated at a 0 on the distress scale. This phase integrates the grounding and reflection techniques in order to release any emotional or physical discomfort from the process.
PHASE 8: The eighth phase is all about reevaluation. The treatment plan is reviewed and it is determined where to move within it to ensure the best treatment possible.