Writer: Dr Mana
2023 June 28

The Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy was developed in 1987 by Francine Shapiro. Initially, it was designed to treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients. EMDR is a short-term individual therapy (one to two times per week) it usually takes 6-12 sessions. The therapist asks the client to rate his/her level of distress before, during and after each EMDR session. EMDR is used to treat many psychological issues, even though most research into it has focused on persons with PTSD. The other psychological issues to use EMDR including Anxiety, Panic attacks, Addictions, eating disorders.

Emotional and psychological trauma can be produced by a variety of factors, including One-time events: such as an accident, an injury, or a violent attack, particularly if they occurred unexpectedly or during childhood. Continuous, unrelenting stress: such as living in a high crime area, suffering a life-threatening illness, or witnessing horrific events on a regular basis, such as bullying, marital violence, or childhood neglect. Overlooked Cases: Surgery (particularly in the first three years of life), the abrupt death of a close relative, the end of a meaningful relationship, or a humiliating or highly disappointing experience, especially if someone was purposefully harsh, are all common causes that go unnoticed.

Symptoms of psychological trauma are included physical and emotional symptoms. Emotional symptoms: Shock, Scepticism or denial, Inability to concentrate and confusion, Anger and mood swings, Impatience, Stress, anxiety, and fear, Shame, guilt, and self-blame, feeling numb or disconnected, Distancing yourself from others. Emotional symptoms: Insomnia, Nightmares Being quickly startled, Concentration problems, A pounding heartbeat, Anxiety and jitteriness, Fatigue, Body aches.

Desensitization During this process, the client concentrates on the memory while moving his or her eyes/ tracking the finger of therapist which is moving right and left or performing other BLS (visual e.g., tracking finger; sensory e.g., tap, hand buzzer; and auditory e.g., tune) e.g., tap or tune. This BLS must be fast, probably the therapist takes just one second to move the finger from one side to another and then back. Repeat this moving finger to and for almost 8-25 times and ask the client to tell what thought now arise. This BLS is done so that the brain gets to process so much information at a time that it loses the emotional value of the image of trauma. In other words, the emotion attached to the image starts fading. The client then comments on any new ideas that have surfaced. This procedure is repeated until the client reports that the recollection of memory no longer bothers them. Installation is the fifth step of EMDR, and it enhances the preferred constructive cognition. The BLS is given while the client holds that traumatic image and, in the mind, recites the new positive belief. The process is repeated until the thought is installed.

It is believed that the symptoms of PTSD and associated disorders, are the outcome of prior distressing experiences that continue to produce discomfort because the memory was not properly processed. The beliefs, emotions, thoughts, and sensations (physical) that occurred at the time of the occurrence are assumed to be stored in these unprocessed memories. When memories are aroused, these stored upsetting parts are relived, resulting in symptoms. Since EMDR therapy focuses on the memory and alters the way the memory is stored, it lowers and eliminates these problematic symptoms.

Kindly follow the link below to watch examples of EMDR sessions.

Example Session 1
Example Session 2