EMDR for Adults


We know that when something traumatic happens to you, your mind may continue to hold onto it in a way that includes the original picture, sounds, feelings, sensations and thoughts or any combination of the above. It seeks likes the trauma is locked inside and it can be triggered by many different things or people that you encounter throughout the day and/or night. These old experiences can still cause a great deal of discomfort. At times, you may feel helpless because you are not able to control what is happening in your mind or your body. That is because you are experiencing the affects and sensations that are connected with this old experience.
There have been several controlled studies that support the idea that EMDR works well in the treatment of trauma.

Where do we start with the EMDR therapy?

I like to begin with knowing what your life experiences have been. I will ask you for the best ten and the worst ten memories in your life to help you and me understand you better. I can send you a simple form that will guide you in relation to what information is required. But, if you find this exercise too troubling, I will be glad to complete it with you in the session.

What is EMDR?

Francine Shapiro, PhD, an American psychologist, developed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy as a breakthrough therapy with special capacity to overcome the often devastating effects of psychological trauma in the late 1980s.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a treatment whose theoretical base is information processing (i.e. how the brain ‘deals with’ information).

By now, you have probably heard about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and wondering what it really is about and how it will help you. EMDR is an interesting and complex approach to psychotherapy that incorporates much of the wisdom of other therapies. Most people have come to associate it with bilateral stimulation, which is most usually side-to-side eye movements, but such stimulation can also be achieved through audible (sound). EMDR includes an eight phase approach and numerous procedural elements that contribute to its success.

What are the different phases of EMDR treatment?

There are eight phases to EMDR treatment and all of them are necessary to make sure that all of the dysfunctional elements of a problem are handled. It is why each phase is considered important and essential to the successful completion of EMDR treatment.

Phase One: Information

Gathering about your problem, family, schooling, vocational, development, medical, psychological and physical history. From this we will draw up a treatment plan together and decide how we will go about the process.

Phase Two: Preparation

The preparation phase is probably one of the most important parts of your treatment. The idea of preparation is to make sure you have the resources you need to tackle your problem/s. When we talk about resources, we are referring to coping strategies. Resources are way sin which we soothe ourselves and handle distressing thoughts, feelings or body sensations. EMDR is introduced this phase so you will know what to expect using bilateral stimulation.

Phase Three: The Assessment

The assessment phase is when we clarify the problem we will work on by choosing the following: an image that represents it; how it leaves you thinking about yourself in a negative manner; how would you prefer to view yourself concerning this situation now; your emotions; and where the sensations are in your body. I teach you how to measure the emotions and the positive belief about yourself so that we can judge together where you are in the process of changing your thoughts and feelings about yourself.

Phase Four: Desensitization Bilateral Stimulation

Desensitization bilateral stimulation is used to work out the target problem and any other association material that occurs. When the target event and associated memory channels are cleared, we move onto the next phase. We will use two different scales to measure change:- The Subjective Units of Disturbance Scale (SUDs) and the other is the Validity of Cognition Scale (VOC). The SUDs help us measure your level of disturbance or discomfort with your problem and the VOC helps us evaluation how close you are to your goal. When the SUDs reach 0 and VOC reaches 7, we know that we are ready to move onto the next phase. Sometimes, this phase moves rapidly and sometimes it moves more slowly. It depends on what you need to resolve this difficulty.

Phase Five: Installation

Here we connect your positive cognition/resource with whatever is left of the past problem so that your positive resource is linked formally with the old problem.

Phase Six: Body Scan

Here we have the opportunity to checkout if there is still some discomfort anywhere in your body. This is yet another way for us to check in and see if all the material that is related to this problem is worked through. In EMDR, I am checking at every level to see that this occurs. It is important to process all material associated with the problem to assist in putting it behind you. Then you will be able to incorporate the learning from this issue into your personal knowledge base.

Phase Seven: Closure

We will do a formal closing of the session together by using one of your resources. I am interested in making sure that you feel OK before you leave. If you are having any type of discomfort, or feel disconnected from yourself and/or if you are unsure if that is the case or not, I want to know about it so I can help you feel better or, at least, in present time/grounded before you leave my office.

It is important for you to know that once EMDR is begun, you have opened the door to the processing of the material that you have been working on. With this in mind, I will ask you to note down any interesting or unusual changes in any part of your life during the time between sessions. For instance, are you behaving in different ways from when presented with your problem or triggers for your problem? Has your mood improved? Are you engaging in new or different behaviours than you are used to? Sometimes it might feel like you are back in the old problem. This is not a cause for alarm. This is part of the processing of the problem that you are working on. If you have any concerns or are very distressed due to material that arises during this time, please call me to let me know so that I can help you. You are not alone in this process.

Phase Eight: Re-evaluation

The idea here is to go over the information you have gathered in-between sessions so that we can see if there is any new material we need to work on together. EMDR is an excellent tool for flushing out all the material that has to do with the problem that we are targeting.

What should I expect after my EMDR session?

It is important to know that your brain continues to work on your problem and the related information after your EMDR session is completed. You may have new insights and/or new disturbing information may come to your attention in the form of images, thoughts, or sensations. This is normal. Jot it down in a notebook or on a piece of paper and we will discuss it during your next session. When you write down your positive and/or negative experiences, remember to include any of the following that you notice; images, beliefs; sensations; SUDs (if it makes sense to do so).

If things feel overwhelming or extremely uncomfortable, please do not hesitate to call me. Often, the change that occurs is so subtle that you may not notice the change at first. However, when we talk about it in the Re-evaluation phase, the changes come to light.

Sometimes, you will feel tired at the end of your EMDR session. Please schedule your session with me that you can have time to rest afterwards.