There are many various types of therapy out there, and each of them can have a completely different set of goals that are met through a range of psychological techniques. The type of therapy that will work for you can depend on the type of trauma or psychological distress you experience. EMDR can help reduce the symptoms associated with trauma-based depression, panic attacks, and PTSD.
What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR stands for eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing. This is a well-researched model of therapy treatment where the ultimate aim is to help patients overcome past trauma. EMDR therapy works to reduce the level of stress and psychological pain felt when thinking about a traumatic event or memory.
Traumatic memories often evoke negative emotions within those who have experienced them. EMDR can be a great form of therapy for those who may find it too damaging to discuss the details of the traumatic event that happened to them. This is because it works without having to go into specifics; without having to relay the entire situation again to the therapist. This method involves thinking back to traumatic events while the mind focuses on bilateral stimulation – a type of stimuli that moves rhythmically from a left to right pattern across the body. In EMDR this stimuli usually focuses eye movements, but it could also be audio or tactile-based.
The Stages of EMDR Therapy London
There are 8 stages to EMDR therapy. Each session of EMDR therapy usually lasts around 60 – 90 minutes, and the number of sessions it can take you to work through the 8 stages depends on the level of trauma you have experienced. For example, a single event traumatic experience may take less time to work through than multiple, more complex traumatic memories might.
- Treatment Planning
As with any type of therapy, it’s imperative that the patient and therapist must work together honestly to determine whether that specific type of therapy is right for you. The treatment planning stage of EMDR might not just be a one-time event. It is common to find that as we work through therapy, new revelations are made, which can make it necessary to re-evaluate the initial treatment plan over time.
Treatment planning seeks to identify the traumatic event – or events – that have led to the development of the issue in the first place, and which present-day situations the patient finds can trigger the negative emotions associated with the trauma. The therapist will also outline which learning tools the patient will need in order to manage and work through their responses to the traumatic memories and the present-day situations that might evoke those negative responses.
This is where the patient will learn certain techniques that should allow them to cope with the potential resurfacing of traumatic emotions and memories. This is where the therapist explains how EMDR works, and what is to be expected after the treatment has been a success.
This is also the stage where patient and therapist should form a trustworthy bond. Without any trust, it is inevitable that the patient will not be able to accurately relay their thoughts and feelings to the therapist – which are necessary in order for any form of therapy to work.
The assessment stage is where a mental picture that represents the traumatic memory as a whole is identified by the patient. The patient then has to link this image to the negative emotion that it evokes, in the form of a statement.
The patient then selects a positive statement that is appropriate to where they are and how they would rather feel today. For example, the negative statement might be “Nobody loves me”, whereas the positive statement that aims to replace that belief may be “Plenty of people love me”. The patient must then identify how accurate they feel the positive statement to be at present, rating it from 1 – 7 on the VOC (Validity of Cognition) scale. They will also identify how the negative statement feels, by explaining the negative emotions or physical disturbances that arise when that statement is thought of.
This is where the patient becomes desensitised to the traumatic memory, and all those memories that have since become associated with the original traumatic memory. The offending mental image is revisited using bilateral stimuli, and repeated until the positive statement is felt to be true, and the negative statement no longer evokes such a disturbing response in the patient.
Again, EMDR can help people who do not even wish to discuss their trauma in detail. The desensitisation stage involves the patient simply thinking up a scenario (or mental image) in their own mind, without having to relay the details directly to the therapist.
During this stage of EMDR therapy London, the patient and therapist work together to solidify the new, positive statement as a consistent replacement of the previously negative statement that was damaging. This belief is strengthened with the use of bilateral stimulation, such as rhythmic eye movement stimuli. The installation phase focuses on reminding the patient that they have full control, and that they are no longer in such a negative situation as the one they experienced in the first place.
- Body Scan
This is where the therapist and patient work to identify any left over, unpleasant feelings that remain associated with the traumatic event. These may not be just psychological beliefs. Instead, we often feel the negative responses to memories or thoughts within our physiological systems. The body scan therefore identifies any tension, pain, or nausea, that may occur, and works to reduce this physical response within the body. EMDR only becomes a ‘success’ when the negative, traumatic memory can be thought about without noticing those unpleasant bodily sensations.
Note: The following closure and re-evaluation stages make up the end and the beginning of each new EMDR therapy session. This is so that both patient and therapist can identify where they need to go next, and to ensure that the treatment is working gradually over time.
The closure procedure occurs at the end of every EMDR therapy session. This rounds off each session no matter where it left off using calming processes (whether negative emotions and memories have been overcome or not). This is also where the therapist will make clear to the patient what is to be expected outside of therapy time. For example, a patient may leave the therapist’s office only to find that they have re-visited the traumatic memory, and that new negative emotions have risen to the surface. The patient is reminded to note down any of these new findings, and taught how to deal with these negative feelings until the next EMDR therapy session is due.
The re-evaluation stage is considered at the beginning of every new EMDR therapy session. The therapist will then identify where the therapy session should focus next, based on the level of progress made in overcoming the negative associations linked to the trauma. This is the step of EMDR that helps the therapist identify how successful the treatment has been.
EMDR Therapy London with Vyas Lee Practice
You can find quality EMDR therapy London with Vyas Lee Practice. With a number of clinics across the city, there are plenty of opportunities to overcome traumatic events and memories, paving the way for a brighter future within yourself. Alternatively, you can opt to receive EMDR therapy London within the comfort of your own home, or online.