EMDR Therapy

Navigating Trauma With EMDR

EMDR is a treatment model that allows people to heal from emotional distress and symptoms as a result of an upsetting or traumatic life experience(s). EMDR has been proven to be a shorter method of treatment than other previously implemented counseling techniques. The brain typically can heal itself after a traumatic experience. However, sometimes the brain gets blocks and this is when EMDR can help by removing this block and allow healing to take.

What Can I Expect From EMDR?

Your story is unique, therefore your experience with EMDR will be different. However, there is a standard eight phase approach that each therapist is expected to follow when implementing EMDR.

Phase 1 includes history taking session(s). The therapist will determine your readiness to participate in EMDR. A treatment plan will also be created. The therapist will work with you to identify the targets to process during EMDR.

In phase 2 the therapist ensures that you have the coping strategies needed to handle the emotional dysregulation that can surface when processing targets. In this phase, the therapist may teach you imagery and other stress reduction techniques that can be used outside of sessions when you are experiencing emotional dysregulation.

During phases 3 through 6, a target is identified and processed using EMDR therapy protocol.

In phase 7, which is the closure phase, the therapist will ask you to keep a log throughout the week of any related information that was triggered from EMDR. Phase eight includes exploring the progress made thus far using EMDR therapy.

Counselor hands holding and comforting young girl

Are There Adverse Effects Of EMDR?

EMDR can be distressing and unresolved memories can surface. After an EMDR session, the processing of the information continues and other dreams, memories and feelings can arise. Due to the possibilities of these adverse effects it is crucial that you are ready to start EMDR. Having a positive support system is imperative. It is also crucial to have an array of coping strategies to assist with self-regulating both inside and outside of the therapy session.

How Many Sessions Will The Therapist Need Before EMDR Begins?

This varies depending on your ability to self-soothe and use a variety of self-regulating techniques to decrease potential disturbances.

The therapist should teach you these techniques during the preparation phase. The amount of preparation needed will vary from client to client. In the majority of instances, the active processing of memories should begin after one or two sessions.

How Many Sessions Will EMDR Take?

The number of sessions depends upon the specific trauma and your history. However, studies have shown that 80-90% of participants were able to process through a single trauma within three session and that 80% of participants with complex civilian trauma no longer had PTSD after six hours of treatment.

You may be a good candidate for EMDR if you have experienced:

  • The loss a loved one

  • Physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abused

  • Finding out that you have a terminal illness

  • Being in a combat zone

  • Any type of accident

  • Being Bullied

  • A natural disaster like a hurricane, earthquake, fire, and/or flood

  • Divorce, either your own or your parents

  • Neglect and/or abandonment

  • Addictions

This is a short list of experiences that EMDR may help. Just because you think you have not been through something that is characteristically “traumatic,” like abuse, death of loved one, a natural disaster, or combat, it does not mean that EMDR cannot help you. Everyone has experienced some degree of trauma that can be processed using EMDR.

For more information on EMDR, contact Kari Randall, LPC to setup a brief 10-15-minute phone consultation.

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