Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
The INDIGO Program is designed for patients with history of trauma who are interested in evidenced based treatment. This up to 12 week, structured, goal directed program utilizes multiple therapeutic treatment modalities to facilitate insight development, bring about stress reduction, and encourage the development of productive coping strategies. EMDR Brochure
One of the primary modalities utilized is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy. It is therapy model based on the research of Francine Shapiro, which may be effective for relief of trauma symptoms in the right candidate. EMDR therapy operates on the notion of the mind body connection. EMDR integrates mind and body work via bilateral stimulation. Bilateral stimulation means eye movements, tones, or taps. It is hypothesized EMDR therapy may bring about newer, more productive neural (brain) pathways (Adaptive Information Pathways- AIP) with the potential to facilitate relief from less functional thought patterns- the thought patterns bringing about unwanted symptoms. One of the primary goals of EMDR therapy is to avoid re-traumatization. It is essential the patient understands they are in control of the milieu, and may stop at any time in the process.
Trauma may cause the brain to process and store memories in a way that prolongs distress. A conscious or unconscious trigger may provoke the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) and bring about unwanted symptoms. When this happens, the brain may behave as if the past disturbing event is happening in the present. EMDR therapy has the potential to create a more adaptive response to this stimulus so that the painful memories associated with the trauma lose their potency.
There are eight phases of EMDR: History Taking, Resourcing/Coping Development, Assessment, Desensitization/Reprocessing, Installation (of Positive Cognition), Body Scan/Somatic Assessment, Closure, and Re-evaluation. Generally speaking, any work in any phase of EMDR is considered to be EMDR therapy- all 8 phases are not always completed. In some cases, a patient’s treatment plan may reflect an indication to spend more time in a particular phase. Care is taken to clinically evaluate patient readiness for each phase. As such, there may be an emphasis of the Resourcing/Coping Development phase, for example.
EMDR therapy is a psychodynamic therapy offered for clients diagnosed with Depression, Anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. EMDR is a target specific, evidenced based therapeutic modality. EMDR can be a very effective method of treatment, in that it may bring about relief of symptoms of trauma, such as flashbacks, triggers, nightmares, and sleep disruption. EMDR therapy is a complex, evidenced based process that serves to assist the client to synthesize their trauma in a manner that removes or reduces emotional reactivity symptoms. EMDR can "take the power out of the trauma", with the goal of relief from re-experiencing it with the “fight, flight, or freeze”, response. EMDR seeks to reduce the re-experience of the intensity present when the trauma occurred.
There are no promises made regarding the capability of EMDR to "cure" trauma. While EMDR has the potential to bring about enduring relief from trauma symptoms, subsequent life events carry the possibility of creating a "new" trauma, or be contributory to pre-existing trauma, causing re-emergence of symptoms after conclusion of initial treatment. EMDR implements Target Sequence Planning (TSP) for Past, Present, and Future events. EMDR may still be utilized for new trauma. It is essential that the client communicate with the therapist as clearly and succinctly as possible regarding their needs and experiences while engaging in EMDR therapy.