March 2, 2022
Mental Health

You know when you feel like you have done a lot of work on yourself; you’ve spent hours in therapy, read all the self-help books on the shelf and whatever else to care for yourself and still do not feel quite right? There can be more layers to discover and process through. These unhealed wounds or negative self-beliefs keep us stuck in old ways of living. EMDR is a helpful tool to work through some of those deeply rooted issues.


EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and it is a form of trauma therapy that allows for us to find freedom from old thinking patterns that are not particularly helpful to us. At one point, they may have served or protected us, but now, they are preventing us from succeeding in certain areas of life. Therapy and EMDR enable us to examine where we sabotage, disconnect from, and disable ourselves. It shows us where we hold ourselves back and promotes new pathways of thinking where we can be more mindful and present in the world.


EMDR is an eight-phase treatment.

Here’s what you can expect during EMDR therapy:


Phase 1: History and Treatment Planning

Your therapist will determine if you’re a good fit for EMDR, and help you identify which traumas you will focus on.


Phase 2: Preparation

Your therapist will ensure you’re able to handle emotional distress and may teach you a variety of mindfulness and stress management techniques that you can use during the session, but also going forward in your life.


Phases 3-6: Assessment, Desensitization, Installation, and Body Scan

This is when you process the target memory or trauma using bi-lateral stimulation including eye movements, taps and tones. Your therapist will talk you through visualizing the memory, feeling the negative and/or positive beliefs attached to it, as well as any emotions that arise or sensations present in your body.


Phase 7: Closure

Here comes your homework! Your therapist will ask you to keep a journal of any feelings related to the processed memory that come up after your session, and will encourage you to use the stress management skills you learned in phase two. It can be helpful to note which stress-management skills worked for you!


Phase 8: Reevaluation

Your next session with your therapist will begin with a discussion of your journal, and assessing the progress made so far.


If you are wondering where exactly to start, consider therapy as a great place to start. Therapy is the door to start recognizing ways in which you are impacted each day. From your thinking to your emotions and your actions, you can name changes that are needed to gain awareness and accommodate what you’ve learned. Then, if your therapist suggests EMDR, this would be a secondary gain to your mental wellness. It’s that longed for and awaited health you have wanted. You are worth investing in yourself.