Generally takes 1-2 sessions at the beginning of therapy, and can continue throughout the therapy, especially if new problems are revealed. In the first phase of EMDR treatment, the therapist takes a thorough history of the client and develops a treatment plan.
Phase 2: Preparation
For most clients this will take only 1-4 sessions. For others, with a very traumatized background, or with certain diagnoses, a longer time may be necessary. Basically, your clinician will teach you some specific techniques so you can rapidly deal with any emotional disturbance that may arise. If you can do that, you are generally able to proceed to the next phase. One of the primary goals of the preparation phase is to establish a relationship of trust between the client and the therapist. While the person does not have to go into great detail about his disturbing memories, if the EMDR client does not trust his or her clinician, he or she may not accurately report what is felt and what changes he or she is (or isn't) experiencing during the eye movements.
Phase 3: Assessment
Used to access each target in a controlled and standardized way so it can be effectively processed.
Processing does not mean talking about it. See the Reprocessing sections below.
Reprocessing. For a single trauma reprocessing is generally accomplished within 3 sessions. If it takes longer, you should see some improvement within that amount of time.
Phase 4: Desensitization
This phase focuses on the client's disturbing emotions and sensations as they are measured by the SUDs rating. This phase deals with all of the person's responses (including other memories, insights and associations that may arise) as the targeted event changes and its disturbing elements are resolved. This phase gives the opportunity to identify and resolve similar events that may have occurred and are associated with the target. That way, a client can actually surpass his or her initial goals and heal beyond his or her expectations.
Phase 5: Installation
The goal is to concentrate on and increase the strength of the positive belief that the person has identified to replace his or her original negative belief. For example, the client might begin with a mental image of being beaten up by his or her father and a negative belief of "I am powerless." During the Desensitization Phase that client will have reprocessed the terror of that childhood event and fully realized that as an adult he or she now has strength and choices that were not there when he or she was young. During this fifth phase of treatment, that person's positive cognition, "I am now in control," will be strengthened and installed.
Phase 6: Body scan
After the positive cognition has been strengthened and installed, the therapist will ask the person to bring the original target event to mind and see if any residual tension is noticed in the body. If so, these physical sensations are then targeted for reprocessing.
Phase 7: Closure
Ends every treatment session. The Closure ensures that the person leaves at the end of each session feeling better than at the beginning. If the processing of the traumatic target event is not complete in a single session, the therapist will assist the person in using a variety of self-calming techniques in order to regain a sense of equilibrium.
Phase 8: Reevaluation
Opens every new session. At the beginning of subsequent sessions, the therapist checks to make sure that the positive results (low SUDs, high VOC, no body tension) have been maintained, identifies any new areas that need treatment, and continues reprocessing the additional targets.