EMDR therapy and counseling for trauma survivors, depression and anxiety disorders by Kathrin Winkler Therapy, LLC. Located in Costa Mesa, CA.
Since I am providing this therapy modality in my counseling practice and am an EMDR trained therapist, I would love to provide you with some basic information of what to expect when we decide that EMDR therapy is a good fit for you.
EMDR is a therapy which integrates the past, present and future. Initially it was mainly applied in counseling of trauma victims but now is also used in working with depression and anxiety issues. A client will work on and process past disturbing memories, which contribute to present problems and integrate skills that s/he possibly needs in the future. EMDR may bring more rapid results than other types of counseling and therapy. Nevertheless, this all depends on the individual her/himself. One client may takes some time to establish trust in the therapist and personal coping skills (phase 2), while another one possibly moves on quickly through the first phases to discover later that more material has to be addressed in session. The overall time of counseling will depend on the trauma history of the client. Complex trauma often takes more time to address all of the distressing material, relieve the upsetting emotions and integrate new healthy behaviors and thoughts. EMDR therapy presents an 8 phases counseling approach:
1. History taking and planning of the treatment - discussion of problems, symptoms, identifying targets, etc. (1-2 sessions but can continue throughout therapy when new problems come up).
2. Preparation - learning and practicing of techniques that help to quickly control strong disturbing emotions, trust building, etc. (1-4 sessions or more depending on personal clients trauma history and possible diagnosis).
3. Assessment - identifying a certain picture of the target event, a negative self-belief that is associated with the event, finding a positive self-belief that the client would like to have about the event in the present, rating this statement how much it feels true (Validity of Cognition VOC 1-7), identifying negative feelings and physical sensation connected to the target event and rating the disturbance (Subjective Unit of Disturbance 0-10).
Reprocessing - dual attention stimulation either through eye-movements, tapping or tones (single traumatic event approximately 3 sessions, complex trauma some relieve should be experienced after 3 sessions).
4. Desensitization - focus is on the disturbing emotions and sensations. Any other upcoming memories, insights, feelings and associations will be addressed and worked on through by the EMDR therapist let bi-lateral movements, until the SUD - scale levels are reduced to 0 (1 or 2).
5. Installation - therapist and client will work on strengthening and installing the positive belief that previously has been identified.
6. Body scan - the EMDR therapist will bring the client back to the original disturbing memory and have the client scan for any residual tension or negative feelings. If some still come up, reprocessing continues.
7. Closure - in this phase, the therapist is explaining to the client that processing of memories may still be happening while not in session, instruct her/him on keeping a journal to document any new experiences outside of counseling and help the client in using various self-calming techniques in and outside of therapy.
8. Reevaluation - at the beginning of each subsequent session the therapist will keep checking in with the client if the positive results have been maintained and if new areas came up that need attention.
For more detailed information and resources on EMDR therapy please click here.