TherapeuticApproach: EMDR

Therapeuticapproaches have been developed with the aim of understanding thespecific areas of the patients’ problems and look for ways to helphim realize how historical events are replicated in the present. Themethod applied usually depends on the training of the therapist, thepreferred style and also the personality. This is why some of thepsychologists can choose to implement a single approach with allpatients, or utilize an eclectic one or even tailor other methods tosuit the particular needs of the client, concerning behavior,symptoms, and the personality [ CITATION Wor13 l 1033 ].

Eyemovement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is widely identifiedas one of the psychotherapy measures used for treating relateddisorders. It was developed by Francine Shapiro, and it puts moreeffort upon the memories that are disturbing and identifies them asthe primary cause of psychopathology. Often, the approach ispracticed by people who indicate symptoms that are conclusive ofpost-traumatic stress disorder. Apparently, experiencing a traumaticoccurrence has a significant impact on an individual and mayultimately lead to the breakdown of the body’s coping mechanisms.Studies have acknowledged the efficacy of EMDR and associated itseffectiveness to that of cognitive behavioral therapy in cases ofchronic post-traumatic stress disorder. This specific treatment wasselected due to its ability to cut down the persistent effects ofmemories that tend to be stressful [ CITATION Gra02 l 1033 ].This state isachieved by the development of working mechanisms that are essentialfor adaptive coping.


FrancineShapiro is renowned for the development of EMDR, and the therapyutilizes an approach that encompasses eight steps. It is important tonote that this therapy is not only used for treating PTSD in adultsalone, but also the control of other conditions and in children too.Similar reviews have indicated that EMDR is similar regarding theefficacy of other types of exposure therapies and in some cases, itis more efficient compared to SSRIs, and therapies that areproblem-centered [ CITATION Fra89 l 1033 ].

EMDRis one of the psychotherapies highly advocated for children,adolescents and grown-ups since it helps in the reduction of clearlyperceived, repeated traumatic happenings. The process of this therapyoccurs in eight stages which are systematic and have their exactintentions. The first phase involves history treatment and planning.In this way, the therapist can identify possible problems such asdistressing memories which can be mapped out for reprocessing. Thesecond stage is characterized by the preparation of the client withadequate ways that help him to cope with upsetting emotions. Thisprocedure is usually accompanied by the proper relaxation techniques.What follows then is the assessment phase. Most of the time, thetherapists encourage the client to visualize themes that areassociated with the traumatic events. With this developed image, theclient is then helped to develop a positive cognition which replacesthe negative one. In the end, the client will have to indicate thepart in the body where the feelings are sensed [ CITATION Mar061 l 1033 ].

Thefourth step is focused on desensitization. Here, the clientconcentrates on the stressful memory while at the same time directingattention to the second attention stimulus. The therapist, on theother hand, initiates lateral eye movement, for instance, a pulsinglight or in some cases tapping a part of the body. Personalassociation process is usually repeated for a lot of times andresumes until the patient stops feeling disturbed when remembering.Afterward, Phase five follows and the client, maintains the activememory as the clinician returns with the bilateral stimulation. Thisis also known as the installation phase, and it ends as soon as theclient feels that the positive thought is entirely believed. The goalof step six is to observe any possible feelings that areuncomfortable. Contrary sensations that may persist are diminished.Successful treatment is characterized by the ability of the client tothink, talk about a historical event without physical or emotionaldiscomfort [ CITATION Mar061 l 1033 ].

Theseventh and eighth stages are termed as closure and reevaluationrespectively. These last stages were established because not alltraumatic experiences will be eradicated entirely in a single sessionwith the therapist. At times relaxation techniques that elicitemotional stability and a sense of tranquility can be undertaken.Later on, the process of reevaluation will begin to assess whetherthe therapeutic approached was successful or not [ CITATION Gra02 l 1033 ].Based on the findings, the therapist in charge can make an informedchoice of how to proceed with the case.

Theamount of time taken for the therapy to work varies from one clientto another. In some people, positive changes can be witnessed whileothers might require a longer period. In essence, the EMDR therapyinvolves a guideline composed of three protocols, namely theprocessing of historical events, targeting of the current issues anddeveloping ways in which intrinsic and extrinsic factors can be welldesensitized. Finally, the fragments from the future events areenjoined to help the affected client get the necessary skillsrequired for adaptive functioning [ CITATION Wor13 l 1033 ].During the application of any therapeutic technique, it is crucial tomake sure that the underlying origin of the disorder is known. Thisis because various methods have been identified to be more efficientthan others based on the condition beinghandled. In this case, post-traumatic stress disorder is the primaryunderlying mental disorder that can be successfully taken care of bythe application of Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing(EMDR).

Usesof therapeutic approach

Apartfrom the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, Eye movementdesensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) can also be employed in thetreatment and control of other disturbances. The approach can,therefore, be implemented for cases such as managing phobias, panicdisorders and also agoraphobia. Several studies that have beenearlier done provide evidence that this approach can also bereplicated in the curing of these mental disorders. However, theadditional users have not been so clearly established, and there willbe contention regarding its use for other purposes other than theintended one [ CITATION Fra89 l 1033 ].

and Conclusions

EMDRis a technique that has been proven to be a valid measure for thereduction in the disturbing memories of the past. The mechanisms thatare specifically implemented are based on the effectiveness of theeye movements. The eight steps towards achieving health restorationare essential to ensuring a successful treatment. Even though manypeople have been taken through this process, the time of healing isnot fixed, patients. In the field of EMDR therapy, more and moreresearch needs to be done to investigate the presence of a moreaccurate method of treatment. Despite the few methods available, EMDRstill stands out as one of the working methodologies. It is importantto remember that before the treatment process can begin, there is aneed to identify the underlying issue before continuing with theprocedure.


Devilly, G. (2002). Eye Movement Desensitization and reprocessing. The scientifi review of mental health practice, 113-138.

Shapiro, F. (1989). Efficacy of the eye movement desensitization procedure in the treatment of traumatic memories. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 199-233.

Wilensky, M. (2006). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) as a Treatment for Phantom Limb Pain. Vancouver: British Columbia School of Professional Psychology.

World Health Organization. (2013). WHO guidelines on conditions specifically related to stress. WHO.