Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is a relatively new type of psychotherapy designed by Francine Shapiro to alleviate the distress caused by traumatic memories. The therapy involves the client recalling distressing or traumatic experiences whilst alternating right, left stimulation such as tapping on the knees, legs or shoulders, tapping toes or feet on the floor, or eye movements.
The 2013 World Health Organisation (WHO) practice guideline states that EMDR "is based on the idea that negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are the result of unprocessed memories. The treatment involves standardised procedures that include focusing simultaneously on spontaneous associations of traumatic images, thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations and bilateral stimulation that is most commonly in the form of repeated eye movements.
EMDR is typically undertaken in a series of sessions with a trained therapist. The number of sessions can vary depending on the progress made. A typical EMDR therapy session lasts from 60 to 90 minutes.
he 2013 World Health Organisation practice guideline says that "Like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with a trauma focus, EMDR aims to reduce subjective distress and strengthen adaptive beliefs related to the traumatic event. Unlike CBT with a trauma focus, EMDR does not involve (a) detailed descriptions of the event, (b) direct challenging of beliefs, (c) extended exposure or (d) homework.
Studies have found EMDR to be effective with generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and distress due to body image issues.
The eight formal phases of EMDR
First Phase History taking and treatment planning.
Second phase Preparation.
Third phase Assessment
Fourth phase Desensitisation; (to make a sensitised or hypersensitive individual) insensitive or nonreactive to a sensitising agent.
Phases Five and Six Install positive cognitions and body scan.
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