EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that helps reduce the symptoms and emotional distress that result of from traumatic life experiences. The person receives EMDR thinks about the traumatic experience at the dame time they receive alternating bilateral stimuli to their eyes (watching a dot that moves right/left), ears (hearing sounds right/left) or hands (feeling vibration right/left). This process is repeated until the level of desires has decreased and person is able to function well in their daily life. EMDR therapy uses the mind to heal from psychological trauma in much the same as the body recovers from physical trauma.

What is EMDR?

EMDR was first introduced by Francine Shapiro in 1987 and was used as a treatment for psychologically traumatized individuals. EMDR treatment consists of 8-phase and that is appropriate for both adults and children. Repeated studies have shown that EMDR, decrease the amount of patients can needed to improve functions and decrease distress from traumatic events. EMDR uses a specific standardized protocol throughout every session. The protocols are a constructed sequence of treatment building blocks that have been spotted out to be effective across a number of trauma treatment methods. According to Rodenburg (2009), EMDR uses a three-pronged approach; which contain questions pertaining to the cause of the traumatic event (past), the ignition of PTSD symptoms (present), and the action of the future to properly cope with the upsetting events (future). EMDR uses 8-phases of treatment: Phase 1: History. EMDR begins with gathering of the client’s history and a plan for treatment. The practitioner works to pinpoint examples of the current problem, the example that ignites the problem and any potential obstacles that prevent a functional future. Phase 2: Client Preparation. Provides an educative process that gives a client more information about EMDR. The client gains several techniques in dealing with emotional distress. The practitioner provides a variety of imagery and stress reduction techniques for during and between sessions. Phase 3: Assessment. Focusing one specific occurrence and carefully bringing them out to the surface by asking client to report: imagery, current negative cognition, unattained positive cognitions, emotions linked to the experience, and physical sensations. Phase 4: Desensitization. Using forms of alternating bilateral stimulation (eye movements, sounds or physical taps). Client is asked to focus on anything that comes to awareness. These could be changed emotions, positive/negative cognitions, physical sensations, imagery or other experiences. This continues until the client is no longer reporting any forms of disturbance from recalling the experience. Phase 5: Installation. Help client to consider wanting the positive cognition. During the desensitization, new cognitions usually appear and are reported as change is taking place. Installation often takes place after the client completes the desensitization phase. Phase 6: Body Scan. Using a form of checking completion of working being done with patient. While continuing focus on the original traumatic experience and combined positive cognition, the client can point-out possible physical awareness. Phase 7: Closure. Acknowledging the need for evaluation of the patient’s state of being in advance to the conclusion of treatment sessions. It is important to confirm the stability of patient before leaving. Phase 8: Reevaluation. Observes new surfacing material, process in resolving old memories and issues preventing the patient from changing behavior.

Why should I use EMDR?

EMDR has been widely studied and is frequently used for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Recent literature suggests that people with cancer have similar traumatic responses following treatments and during survivorship. Although more studies are needed, there have been several meta-analyses that indicate that EMDR is effective in: Reducing anxiety and depression Improving mood Improving quality of life and Increasing self-esteem Other research suggests that EMDR may be helpful for: Panic disorders Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) PTSD in military Motor vehicle accidents Other psychological disorders

How does EMDR work?

Although scientists are not sure how EMDR affects the mind, they propose that eye movements compete for storage and processing space with the memory of the traumatic event. The brain can only process so much information at one time and researchers think that the brain choose to pay attention to the alternating signals rather than the memory the traumatic events. Studies have shown that EMDR reduces the vividness and severe stress associated with traumatic memories. EMDR has been shown to be effective and safe for adults as well as children. Studies also suggest that people receiving EMDR experience change in the following: Vividness of the memory decreases Then depression and anxiety lessen Once these occur social activity increases.

Is EMDR right for me?

Depending on how intense the memories are. The length of treatment depends. EMDR can be difficult for some to complete because EMDR requires you bring these memories to the surface and also having to repeat sessions. You have to be very patient and acknowledge that you will not see immediate improvements. Remember the vividness of the memory may be a first sign EMDR is working.

EMDR treatment can range from $100-$130 per session.

Using EMDR requires a patient to focus and look deep in their memories. The practitioner will ask you to sit comfortably in a chair and ask you a series of questions related to your health, and distressing memories.

Parent(s) should accompany children using EMDR. Studies indicate that girls react more strongly to trauma than boys. Therefore, EMDR treatment for women/girls might need to be more intense and requires more sessions or longer than what is needed for men/boys.

How do I choose an EMDR provider?

There is no Arizona state licensure required for EMDR providers, but states do vary. An EMDR practitioner should have taken level 1 and 2 training approved by the EMDR International Association or EMDR-Europe.

For more information about licensure requirements, please visit www.emdria.org or by phone: 512-451-5200/fax: 512-451-5256.

How do I talk to my healthcare provider about using EMDR?

Inform your healthcare provider about your use of EMDR and your reason(s) for its use. When you discuss this with your provider, stress that you are not replacing your conventional care but are using EMDR to complement the treatment and to help you deal with the memories of cancer development. Be specific about what you are trying to accomplish with EMDR and keep notes that summarize the state of wellbeing after sessions and treatment.

Do not stop taking any of your medication(s). Although EMDR it may help you reduce your need for the medication(s), you should do this after a discussion your healthcare provider and not your EMDR practitioner. Your healthcare provider will work with you to modify medication(s) as indicated.

What is EMDR like?

If you are interested in finding out more about receiving an EMDR treatment, we invite you to watch out following video presentation by Linda Bowers.