EMDR Therapy Process and Timeline
EMDR therapy is a relatively new form of psychotherapy treatment developed by Francine Shapiro noted for helping some patients overcome issues like PTSD, OCD, anxiety disorders, performance anxiety, and substance use disorder. EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a therapy that helps people reprocess traumatic memories. It effectively treats post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other problems such as anxiety and depression.
This article will discuss how long EMDR therapy typically takes and what you can expect from the process.
What Is the Goal of EMDR Therapy?
The goal of EMDR therapy is to process the painful memories causing problems in your life. EMDR therapy can help you deal with these memories more effectively, so you can move on without the emotional burden. While every person’s experience with EMDR therapy is different, most people report feeling relief from their symptoms after a few EMDR sessions. It’s important to remember that everyone heals at their own pace, and you should never feel pressured to complete treatment before you’re ready.
If you feel like EMDR therapy is not helping you, or if the therapist is not a good fit, be sure to speak up and find a therapist who will be a good fit for you.
If you’re struggling to find a therapist you feel comfortable with, or you’re not sure if EMDR therapy is right for you, reach out to Zinnia Health. Our certified counselors and therapists strive to provide quality, compassionate care to every client. We’ll happily help you find the right therapist for you. Please reach out at (855) 430-9439 — we’re happy to talk.
How Many Sessions Does EMDR Therapy Take?
People considering EMDR therapy often ask this question. The answer, unfortunately, is more complex than some might hope. While there are general guidelines regarding the number of sessions required for successful EMDR treatment, the reality is that each case is unique.
That said, most people who undergo EMDR therapy will need between 8 and 12 sessions. This may seem like a lot, but it is essential to remember that EMDR therapy is a longer form of treatment that addresses deep-seated emotional issues, and it is not uncommon for people to need more than 12 sessions.
The length of treatment sessions also varies depending on the case. Most EMDR therapy sessions last for 60-90 minutes, but again, this can vary depending on the patient’s individual needs.
If you are considering seeking EMDR therapy, speak with a qualified therapist to get a better idea of how many sessions you may need. However, even if you only undergo a handful of sessions, EMDR therapy could be an effective treatment for many psychological issues.
Does EMDR Work Instantly?
No, EMDR therapy does not work instantly. However, the effects of EMDR therapy can often be seen relatively quickly. In most cases, people who undergo EMDR therapy will start to see a reduction in their symptoms within a few sessions.
For some people, the effects of EMDR therapy may last for a long time after treatment has ended. For others, the results may be more short-lived, and they may need to return for additional sessions.
Differences in how long EMDR therapy takes to work can also varies by the individual’s psychological history, the severity of their symptoms, and other factors, such as whether or not they are also receiving medication or other forms of therapy.
What Are the 8 Phases of EMDR?
The EMDR process is typically divided into 8 phases and can be performed in person or online. The length of each step will vary depending on the individual case, but all stages are typically completed within 12 sessions, taken once or twice per week.
- History taking: In the first phase, the therapist will ask questions about your past experiences and current symptoms to better understand your case.
- Preparation: In this phase, the therapist will help you develop specific coping skills that can be used during and after EMDR therapy.
- Assessment: In this phase, the therapist will assess your current emotional state and identify potential triggers for your symptoms.
- Desensitization: This is the main phase of EMDR therapy, during which you will repeatedly revisit the memories or experiences causing you distress. This will be done in a safe, controlled environment with the guidance of your therapist.
- Installation: In this phase, the therapist will look to instill positive beliefs or coping mechanisms in place of the negative ones targeted during the desensitization phase.
- Body scan: In this phase, you will revisit the memories or experiences from the desensitization phase one last time. However, this time the therapist will look for any adverse physical reactions in your body that may be linked to the memories.
- Closure: In this final phase, the therapist will help you process any remaining emotions and memories. They will also provide guidance on maintaining the progress made during EMDR therapy.
- Reevaluation: In this phase, the therapist will assess your progress and symptoms to determine whether additional sessions are necessary.
What Is the Difference Between EMDR and CBT?
CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy, is a type of therapy that focuses on helping people change negative thought patterns and behaviors. EMDR, on the other hand, is a type of therapy that addresses the emotional impact of past experiences.
CBT and EMDR can be effective treatments for various psychological issues and negative feelings, but they are different in terms of their focus and approach.
What Are the Possible Side Effects of EMDR Therapy?
Most people who undergo EMDR therapy do not experience any serious side effects. However, some people may feel temporarily worse after sessions, primarily if they address distressing memories or experiences.
If this occurs, speak with your therapist to help you process these emotions safely and healthily. In rare cases, some people may experience more severe side effects such as anxiety, panic attacks, or flashbacks. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is vital to seek medical attention immediately.
If EMDR therapy is too intense for you, other methods may be more appropriate to slowly and systematically address traumatic experiences. At Zinnia Health, we offer a variety of therapies that can be tailored to your individual needs. By gradually working through your trauma, you can heal the emotional wounds of your past and live a more peaceful life. Contact us at (855) 430-9439 to learn more.
How Long Should a Person Be in EMDR Therapy?
Generally, people should be in therapy for as long as they feel they benefit from it. Some people may require a few sessions, while others may need many years of treatment. Finding an EMDR therapist you feel comfortable with is essential.
In the case of EMDR therapy, the number of sessions required can vary depending on the individual and the severity of their symptoms. However, most people will need at least a few sessions before seeing significant improvement.
Patients should self-assess and rate their symptoms/discomfort on a weekly or monthly basis to help track their progress. The idea behind EMDR is that eventually, the patient will no longer need the therapy because they have processed and healed their trauma.
If patients don’t feel they’re making progress, they may need to reevaluate whether EMDR is the right therapy for them or consider using EMDR as part of a more comprehensive treatment plan that includes other therapies.
If you’re considering EMDR therapy, speak with a qualified therapist to see if it’s right for you. Zinnia Health offers a wide variety of therapy services, including EMDR, to help you heal from traumatic events and achieve your mental health goals. Call us today at (855) 430-9439 or visit our website to learn more.