Some traumatic events can still control your feelings, thoughts, and responses even after the event is over. This can significantly affect your life’s quality, where you experience negative thoughts and emotions. Fortunately, Financial District EMDR specialists such as David Salvage, MD, FAPM, can help you through eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. The treatment involves eight phases, as described below.
History and Treatment Planning
This is the first phase of EMDR therapy that generally takes 1-2 sessions but may also be applicable later in your treatment should new problems be revealed. Your provider evaluates your medical history to formulate a treatment plan. It involves discussing the specific issues affecting you, including the behaviors and symptoms caused.
This mainly involves 1-4 sessions, although it can take more, depending on the severity of the traumatized background. One of the main objectives of this phase is to establish a relationship of trust between you and your provider. Your provider will take you through EMDR and what it entails so as you know what to expect. Besides, your provider will teach you specific techniques to help you rapidly deal with any emotional distress that may arise. If you achieve the techniques, you are good to proceed to the next phase.
This is where your provider will identify specific parts of the target event to be processed. You will be prompted to access the targets in a controlled and standardized way to ensure they are effectively processed, but processing does not mean talking about it. You will select a particular rational image from the target event that best characterizes the memory. You then choose a statement that expresses the adverse self-belief linked to the event and replace it with a positive one that you would rather believe. This will help you reflect on what is truly appropriate in the present.
This phase deals with all your responses, including insights, associations, and memories, as the embattled event changes and the upsetting elements are resolved. All your senses will be involved as you process the targeted disturbances. Your provider will guide you in sets of eye movements, taps, or sounds with appropriate shifts and focus changes until your Subjective Units of Disturbance (SUD) scale levels are decreased to zero, one, or two.
This phase aims to concentrate on and increase the strength of your positive belief that you choose to replace the original negative one. The goal is to ensure you accept the full truth of your positive self-statement.
Body Scan Phase
After strengthening and installing the positive cognition, your provider will ask you to bring the original target event to mind to detect any residual tension noticed by the body. If there is any, the sensations will be targeted for reprocessing. Therefore, an EMDR session will not be considered successful until you bring back the target event in your mind experience with no body tension.
Your provider will ask you to keep a log documenting any material that can arise during the week. This will serve to remind you of the self-calming activities that have been mastered in the early phases.
This is where the progress made is examined relating all historical events, current incidents, and possible future events. If you have multiple traumas, the treatment process can be restarted but with a new target event. Although, if you are successfully treated through EMDR, you will experience relieved distress, psychological reconciliation, and the ability to redevelop harmful thoughts.
If you are struggling with negative emotions or thoughts, contact David Salvage, M.D., FAPM today, and learn more about EMDR therapy. Dr. Salvage will help you understand how the treatment can help you out of your emotional distress.