EMDR- Common Terms and 8 Phases of Treatment

Common EMDR terms

Bilateral Stimulation (BLS) – Stimulation that rhythmically engages the left and side of the brain to help it process. Can involve side to side eye movements, tapping, or noises going from left to right.

Calming Activity- An activity that you and your clinician will collaborate on together that will help you calm down if you become overwhelmed.  Often used at the end of session. Examples are breathing techniques, safe place, or color wash.

Negative Cognition- A negative belief about oneself. It often involves making general statements, and Negative cognitions are often irrational.

Positive Cognition- A positive belief about oneself. The clinician will collaborate with client on reframing negative cognitions into positive ones.

SUD (Subjective Unit of Disturbance)- How much distress a belief or memory is causing the client. Scaled from 0 (no disturbance) to 10 (extremely disturbing)

VoC (Validity of Cognition)- How strongly a client believes a positive statement. Scaled from 1 (completely false) to 7 (completely true)

The Stages of EMDR -Eight Phases of Treatment

•       Phase 1:  Client History – The clinician will review what brings the client into therapy and troubling events, feelings, and beliefs. This time will also be used build the client-therapist relationship, and develop a treatment plan.

•       Phase 2:  Preparation Phase- The clinician will explain EMDR therapy and assist client with managing emotional reactions during and after session.

•       Phase 3:  Assessment Phase- The clinician and client will work together to determine the traumatic and ill serving memories to work on.

•       Phase 4:  Desensitization Phase- The clinician will utilize Bilateral Stimulation to work on the Negative Cognition and memory causing the client distress.

•       Phase 5:  Installation Phase- The clinician will link and strengthen the Positive Cognition and help the client reframe the memory.

•       Phase 6:  Body Scan Phase- The clinician and client will reprocess the distressing memory and assess how the disturbance is felt in the body.  The goal will be no to very low disturbance.

•       Phase 7:  Closure Phase- The clinician will restore the client to a stable state using a calming activity and end session.

Phase 8:Reevaluation Phase- The clinician will assess with the client’s progress and evaluate for any additional distress.