What happens in an EMDR Therapy session?
Before EMDR Therapy is used, there is a
preparation and assessment phase of treatment. The EMDR Therapy techniques are explained and demonstrated
so that you will feel comfortable and know what to expect. During the assessment phase, information needed
to design a treatment plan is obtained. This history-taking phase includes identifying specific targets
After the preparation and assessment phases
are complete, the treatment phase begins. A typical EMDR Therapy session begins with the therapist gently
guiding you to pinpoint a problem or event that will be the target of treatment. Once you start the eye
movements or tactile stimulation, it may be very difficult to focus on the memory—this is normal. The
initial focusing on the memory opens the door to the memory, and the EMDR Therapy completes the processing on a deeper subconscious
You may experience feelings, thoughts, and body sensations; you may experience nothing. Whatever
you notice you are encouraged to notice it as if you were passing by it on a train rather than being within the experience.
If at anytime you feel overwhelmed, you only need to raise your hand to stop the process. Your feelings surrounding any given event or memory will be rated by you (from 1-10) both prior to and after the
EMDR Therapy processing. The aim of every EMDR Therapy session is noticeable improvement by the time you
leave the session.
The patterns of the eye movements or tactile
stimulation are done in short sets with breaks in between, depending upon a client’s needs. You will
be asked to share “what you noticed” at the end of each set during the break. You may share
what thoughts and/or feelings you experienced, or you can decline to answer and request to simply continue the process.
There are not right or wrong answers—your sharing only guides the sets.
The sets continue until your emotions are
neutralized and the event is re-associated with positive thoughts and feelings about oneself, such as “I realize now
that it wasn’t my fault.” You can stop the process at any time by raising your hand.
It is important to remember that your brain is doing the processing and that you are the one in control. EMDR Therapy is a passive process and you are encouraged to just let whatever happens
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