According to the EMDR
International Association (EMDRIA), EMDR Therapy is designed
It is used for traumatic experiences that may be at the root of any mental
disorder, be it addiction or Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) to name a
does not mean simply talking about experiences that are problematic, but
“digesting” those experiences today in a healthier mold, so that it does not
affect the patient, the way it has been doing for so long. To do this,
treatment is devised into 8 phases:
Aim: To attain the history of
the client and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Duration: 1 to 2 sessions.
Discussion: Specific problems,
behaviors stemming from the problems and symptoms.
Special Features: Patients do not have to
be detailed about the events, an outline will do.
Aim: To establish a relationship of trust between therapist and
Duration: 1 to 4 sessions.
Discussion: Honest discussion of the emotions that arise throughout the
process. The theory of treatment will be taught and expectations will be
discussed. Patients will be taught how to relax in the face of emotional
Perspective: The therapist has to be seen as a guide whom one can trust with
Aim: To access each target
experience in a controlled and standardized way so it can be easily processed.
Duration: Reprocessing for a single trauma usually takes up to 3
sessions. If it takes longer, the severity of the emotional attachment should
be much reduced within that time.
Therapy: The patient identifies
the target and the related negative cognition that goes with it, and assesses
it according to a “Validity of Cognition (VOC)” scale, whereby 1 = completely false
and 7 = completely true. Then the patient notes the feelings that go with the
cognition and rates those feelings according to a “Subjective Units of
Disturbance (SUD)” scale, whereby 0 = no disturbance and 10 = the worse feeling
you’ve ever had.
Preparation: These first three phases prepares the patient for the complex
therapy which will involve EMDR techniques in the sessions that follow.
Aim: To process and
minimize the patient’s SUDs as disturbing emotions and responses. They are thus desensitized
through various stimulations, e.g. eye movement.
depending on the target experience and the emotions that follow.
Therapy: As the patient recalls the targeted event;
memories, insights and associations will arise until the resolution of
the target itself. Patients then make connections between the target trauma and
other seemingly disconnected events in their life, which naturally get resolved at the
same time. Healing here is holistic and beyond expectations.
Patients are brought into sets of eye movements or
other stimulations to encourage
different associations with the memory. The desensitization process continues
until the patient has reached a low SUD mark, preferably between 0 and 2 towards
the target event.
Aim: To increase the strength
of the positive belief, which was adopted by the patient to replace the
negative belief of the target event.
Duration: Varies depending on the individual.
Therapy: The new belief around a traumatic event will be reinforced,
after having come up with the resolution in the previous phase. For example, if
the patient suffered abuse from his/her father and developed a cognition saying
“I’m not good enough”; he/ she will have the chance to develop the contrary
cognition of “I am good enough” throughout this phase of treatment. The success
of this phase is measured through the VOC scale. For it to be truly believable,
patients may have to do things that prove themselves to be “good enough” like
pursuing their hobbies, make lifestyle changes like eating healthily and having
a job. The validity will depend on how believable the cognition is towards the
Aim: To notice and reprocess any residual tension in the body after positive
cognition has been installed and strengthened.
Rationale: Evaluation of thousands of EMDR sessions have revealed that
there is a physical response to unresolved thoughts. When a patient experiences
traumatic events, the event is stored in “motoric memory”, which retains the
connection between the negative emotions and the stored memory. The goal of
EMDR is to re-store the memory into the narrative memory, where the memory no
longer evokes bodily sensations and negative emotions.
Measure of success: EMDR therapy is not successful until the patient can bring up
the target without any negative bodily sensations and emotions. Positive
beliefs have to be felt and not just reasoned into the patient.
Aim: The patient leaves feeling better than when he/she first
Duration: 1 session and if it is not possible, then self-calming
techniques are taught to train the patient to surf through the discomfort.
Self-Control: Patients are
taught that they are in-charge of the process from the very start. They were
told that they could lift their hands up in a “stop” position to signal to the
therapist of the need to stop at times. Hence, they are well-equipped with
tools such as journaling and self-calming techniques to hone in the results
reached through EMDR.
Aim: Maintenance of the positive results: Low SUDs, High VOCs, and no
body tension. The therapist also identifies new targets, reprocesses them and
identifies any new areas that are in need of treatment.
Duration: Subsequent sessions after the initial 7 phase treatment program.
Importance: Completion of the 8 phases are necessary to ensure that patients
are successful in keeping the freedom gained through EMDR. Even though relief
will come effectively over the sessions, the necessity to complete all phases are
vital to the working of this therapy.
At Solace Asia, we have a
specialist who has been trained as a licensed EMDR practitioner. Not only will
our clients get top-rated care for their issues with addiction, but throughout
the process of treatment here, they could opt for EMDR therapy, which is an
invaluable opportunity for more, thorough healing and closure. With this
therapy, it is hoped that our patients will get the best out of their treatment
here at Solace Asia, leaving us with a free, unaffected and calm spirit that
could face the world beyond.