Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is therapy technique that uses specific eye movements to aid clients in the processing of traumatic and distressing memories. EMDR is fairly well-known for its use in treating trauma survivors and clients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); however, research shows that it can also be effective in treating many other mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression. Garrett Counseling’s Alabama locations in Albertville / Boaz, Huntsville, Jacksonville, and Jasper have counselors on our team that utilize Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) with their clients.
How Does EMDR Work?
EMDR is different from most therapy techniques in that it places the emphasis on changing the way a specific memory (or memories) is stored in the brain. EMDR has 8 distinct phases. A brief overview of what these phases look like is:
- History-Taking: In Phase 1, History-Taking, your counselor will gather a complete history from you. Your counselor will specifically want to hear about your previous experiences and current stressors. This information will help you and your counselor determine if EMDR is right for you, as well as develop a treatment plan moving forward.
- Preparation: In Phase 2, Preparation, you and your counselor will discuss what to expect throughout the EMDR process. Your counselor will also work with you to learn coping and stress management techniques that will be useful in the upcoming phases of treatment.
- Assessment: In Phase 3, Assessment, your counselor will learn from you what specific memory you would like to work on moving forward, as well as what positive belief(s) related to the memory you would like to believe in the future.
- Desensitization: During Phase 4, Desensitization, your counselor will assist you in focusing your mind on the specific memory and discussing what you feel and any insights from the memory.
- Installation: Phase 5, Installation, focuses on the positive belief you want to associate with the memory going forward.
- Body Scan: In Phase 6, Body Scan, your counselor will want to discuss what your body is feeling when you experience the memory.
- Closure: Phase 7, Closure, is how every session will end. You and your counselor will discuss how you are currently feeling, what to expect at the next session, and what you should do between sessions.
Reevaluation: Phase 8, Reevaluation, is how every subsequent session will begin. At this time, you and your counselor will talk about how you are feeling, anything that happened between sessions, and how your progress is going.
What Can EMDR Help With?
EMDR is most commonly used to treat survivors of trauma and clients with PTSD. It has proven to be one of the most effective treatments for both of these concerns. However, EMDR International Association says it can also be effective in treating “anxiety, depression, OCD, chronic pain, addictions, and other distressing life experiences.” The Garrett Counseling team has a few counselors trained in EMDR, including Arica Havis, LPC (Level II EMDR Trained). We have written blogs about Agoraphobia and Divorce Trauma and how EMDR can be a tool used in those circumstances; you can find those blogs here:
Learn If EMDR Is Right For You
If you think EMDR could benefit you, contact our office to learn more about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) in Alabama and schedule an appointment. We have locations in Albertville / Boaz, Huntsville, Jacksonville, and Jasper.