EMDR Phases 5-8
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, commonly known as EMDR, is a mental health therapy approach that works to reduce distressing emotions which are linked to traumatic memories. EMDR treats mental health conditions, often anxiety, depression or other symptoms, which occur because of those memories we have stored from traumaticevents.
In my first and second articles on the phases of EMDR we looked at Phases 1&2-Client History/Treatment Planning and Preparation and then we explored phases 3&4-Assessment and Desensitization.
If you would like to read the articles on phases 1&2 and 3&4, please find them on the Marsh Psychology Group website, https://marshpsychologygroup.com/blog/
We will now look at Phases 5-8.
Phase 5: Installation. Once the desensitization therapy sessions are complete, the client will likely feel more positive about the memory. Clients often report they feel the memory is farther away or it just isn’t upsetting anymore. In theinstallation phase these positive emotions and thoughts are “installed.”
In this phase, the client connects and strengthens a positive belief with the target event until it feels completely true. This is done by having the client focus on the positive belief or thought while continuing with bilateral stimulation. The primary objective is to create positive cognitions and associations with the memory.
Phase 6: Body Scan: During the body scan, the client is asked to hold in mind the target event and the positive belief while scanning the body from head to toe. If there are any lingering negative emotions or thoughts, the therapist will ask the client to focus on those sensations while continuing with bilateral stimulation. The goal is to help the client become more aware of their body and any emotions or thoughts affecting them.
The next and last two phases ensure safety for the client both at the end of the current session and at the beginning of the next session.
Phase 7: Closure: Every session of reprocessing ends with the seventh phase, closure, in which the client is assisted to return to a state of calm in the present moment. This phase occurs whether the reprocessing is complete or not. Reprocessing of an event is complete when the client feels neutral about it andreports a disturbance level of zero, and the positive belief feels completely true. The body is also completely clear of disturbance.
Phase 8: Reevaluation: Reevaluation is how each new session begins after reprocessing. The client and therapist discuss recently processed memories to ensure that distress is still low, and that the positive cognition is still strong. If that is true, the client and therapist will move back to the assessment phase to begin working on the next memory.
If you have experienced trauma of any kind and feel you could benefit from EMDR to reduce symptoms and to improve quality of life, feel free to reach out to me at Marsh Psychology Group.
Carol Van Kampen, LMSW is an individual private practice psychotherapist who specializes in anxiety, depression, grief, and trauma treatment at Marsh Psychology Group. Carol is EMDR trained. Contact her at marshpsychologygroup.com