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Discussing 8 Phases of EMDR And Its Effectiveness in Treating PTSD

What is EMDR Therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy technique that involves bilateral stimulation to process traumatic memories, distressful emotions, stress, anxiety, or physical responses associated with emotional wounds.
If you've experienced trauma and are struggling to move forward, EMDR therapy could be a powerful tool for healing. Reach out to Dr. Invia A. Betjoseph, who is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist trained in EMDR, specializing in sex addictions, couples therapy, and trauma.
Call us at (408) 809-1063 today or Book A Free Video Consultation to dial down your traumatic experiences.
This article discusses 8 Phases of EMDR healing Therapy, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and the effectiveness of EMDR in treating PTSD.

Navigating the 8 Phases of EMDR

8 Phases of EMDR Therapy

Phase #1: Patient’s History Taking and Treatment Planning

  • In phase 1, a clinician gathers information/history about the patient's memories, current mental health, and traumatic experiences.
  • After identifying the suitability of EMDR on the patient, a therapist and patient work together to set therapy/treatment goals.

Phase #2: Preparation

  • EMDR therapist, in the preparation phase, educates patients about EMDR, its working mechanism, procedures, and side effects.
  • A therapist may talk to you about strategies or tools to deal with any emotional discomfort and stress that may arise during the procedure.

Phase #3: Assessment

  • The assessment phase involves asking the patient a question to identify a specific trauma memory, emotion, belief, or physical sensation linked with memory.
  • After identifying the target memory, the therapist brings it into the patient's awareness or consciousness.
  • Book a free video consultation and stop suffering in silence.

Phase #4: Desensitization and Reprocessing

  • In phase 4, a therapist asks you to focus on traumatic or target memory, which may trigger negative feelings and body responses.
  • The therapist allows you to reprocess emotions while engaging in eye movement with him/her.
  • A qualified therapist may ask you to share your new feelings or thoughts about your
  • This stage may involve the use of audio or visuals along with light.
  • A therapist continues desensitization until you get rid of your traumatic memory.

Phase #5: Installation

  • This stage involves installation of positive thoughts/beliefs (about yourself) to your previous traumatic memory that has caused you stress and emotional distress.
  • A therapist works on you to strengthen the newly created positive belief about your old traumatic experience.
  • A therapist who has already worked upon your negative traumatic experience in desensitization now tries to add a positive emotion to a target memory.

Phase #6: Body Scanning

  • As the name suggests, phase 6 is used to scan the body to eradicate any remaining traumatic event stored in the body.
  • A therapist may ask the patient to scan himself/herself from head to toe to identify whether a negative feeling arises in the body due to an old traumatic memory.
  • A therapist may use different assessments for body scanning, such as asking you how you feel when thinking about the traumatic experience

Phase #7: Closure

  • A therapist closes the therapy at phase 7 and helps the patient to come back to a state of ease and calm after dealing with traumatic memories.
  • A therapy clinician may suggest the patient write down any emotion that arises during the coming week and use the coping mechanisms learned in EMDR sessions.

Phase #8: Reevaluation

  • Evaluating the treatment results is the last and the 8th stage of the EMDR procedure.
  • An EMDR therapist, in this phase, analyzes your progress and current level of emotions around your trauma to find whether you need additional sessions.
  • A therapist may move to other factors within the same traumatic target memory to evaluate the causes.

Defining Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that develops after an individual experiences a life-threatening or traumatic event. Such an event can make individuals feel scared, anxious, sad, and frightened if the shock remains lingering. Individuals with PTSD typically steer clear of any activity, situation, or individual that triggers memories of their trauma. Some common symptoms of PTSD are irritability, expression of unusual anger, difficulty sleeping, high-speed driving, sexual promiscuity, and alcohol or drug use.

Events Leading to PTSD

  • Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Domestic violence
  • Sudden death of a loved one
  • Hearing about a traumatic event
  • Accidents or injuries (car/plane crashes)
  • War and natural catastrophes (hurricanes, floods)
  • Violent acts (terror activity, sexual assault)
  • Medical experiences (especially during childhood)
  • Many more

How Effective is EMDR Therapy in Treating PTSD?

Phases of emdr therapy - How Effective is EMDR Therapy in Treating PTSD?

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American
Psychological Association (APA) recognize EMDR as an effective therapy for treating and reducing PTSD symptoms.
PTSD involves traumatic memories stuck in a neurological loop causing distress. EMDR works best on these neurological associations/loops of the traumatic memory. What makes EMDR different from other treatments is that it uses DAS (Dual Attention Stimulation) or BLS (Bilateral Stimulation), in which the patient focuses on traumatic memories and emotions while engaging in rhythmic stimulation with the EMDR therapist. The use of BLS simply desensitizes the distressing content of your targeted memory, leading to a gradual fading of PTSD symptoms.
The roles of EMDR in healing PTSD are as follows:

  • Breaking neurological loop containing traumatic memories
  • Desensitization of past traumatic memories using BLS or DASP
  • Teaching the brain that the traumatic period is over
  • Eliminating stimuli related to target negative memory (feeling of worthlessness or self-blame)
  • Replacing traumatic content with positive and empowering beliefs by working on the brain's upper cortex, which holds rational thoughts and reasoning.

Why Is EMDR Therapy So Controversial?

EMDR therapy has earned recognition in San Jose as a safe and effective treatment for trauma-related memories and emotions. Despite its proven success, it has faced skepticism and controversy.
Critics often raise concerns about its effectiveness and the lack of a clear mechanism, especially since therapists may vary in their implementation of the treatment. The technique involves rhythmic eye movements to process emotions and memories, which skeptics may question.
Some argue that the eye movement element is not crucial for successful treatment, while others emphasize its significance in addressing trauma and PTSD. Many debate that it uses a placebo effect, meaning you just start feeling better from a treatment without a medicine.
However, EMDR is a structured therapy and has a high success rate of treating emotional distress. If you want to have EMDR in San Jose, find a qualified EMDR therapist who can better explain the entire process and treat your emotional wounds

How Much Does EMDR Therapy Cost In San Jose, CA?

The cost of EMDR therapy in San Jose can vary depending on the therapist's experience, specialized EMDR certifications and training, session length, location, and insurance coverage.
However, the average cost of EMDR therapy may range between $150 and $280 per session. An average session can last for 45-90 minutes.
The qualified therapists list their experience, certifications, fee information, contact number, and email address on their social profiles at Psychology Today or on their EMDR therapy website.

Who Should Avoid EMDR?

EMDR can be effective for people dealing with trauma (PTSD), stress, anxiety, depression and other disorders. Individuals who struggle to process emotions and exhibit signs of trauma during the procedure are advised to abstain from pursuing EMDR.
A professional mental health expert may consider several factors to determine the right candidate for this therapy treatment, such as the patient's situation, history, and mental health. Those who cannot get treated through EMDR can opt for CBT, DBT, and Exposure therapy after consulting with their clinician. The following population needs to avoid eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy:
● Epilepsy patients
● Patients with severe mental illness
● People with unmanaged emotions
● People who experience hallucinations or delusions.

San Jose Counseling with Dr. Invia Betjoseph

Dr. Invia A. Betjoseph is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC 44618. 

As a Psychotherapist, and a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, he provides Psychotherapy, or Counseling and Sex Addiction Treatment for Sexual Addiction and Pornography or Porn Addiction.

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