How Many Sessions Does EMDR Therapy Take? – Know This

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( — February 10, 2020) — EMDR therapy is a structured psychotherapy technique that helps to deal with psychological stress. It’s an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma. EMDR sessions typically involve relieving triggering or traumatic experiences in brief doses while the therapist directs your eye movement. So how many sessions does EMDR therapy take?

How Many Sessions Does EMDR Therapy Take?

In this article, we’ll discuss the number of sessions EMDR therapy takes compared to other modes of therapy, how it works for trauma and some of the benefits of this technique.

EMDR therapy is typically broken down into eight different phases, so treatment will usually take about 6-12 separate sessions. However, some people benefit from fewer sessions. It also helps to note that sessions can be conducted on consecutive days.

How Does It Work?

Phase 1: History and Treatment Planning

This is an evaluation phase where the therapist starts by reviewing your history. The phase will also include identifying potential traumatic memories and talking about your trauma to be treated specifically.

Phase 2: Preparation

Your therapist will help you to learn several stress management techniques so you can cope with the psychological or emotional stress you’re experiencing. Techniques such as mindfulness and deep breathing may be used.

Phase 3: Assessment

This phase involves identifying specific memories that will be targeted and all the associated components for each of the memories.

Phases 4-7: Treatment

Your therapist will start using EMDR therapy techniques to treat your targeted memories. Expect to be asked to focus on a negative thought, image or memory. At the same time, your therapist will have you do specific eye movements. Depending on your case, the bilateral stimulation may also involve other movements mixed in such as taps.

After the stimulation, your therapist will ask you to try and free yourself of any active thoughts and notice the thoughts and feelings you’re having spontaneously. Afterwards, he/she may choose to move on to another memory or refocus on that particular memory.

If you become distressed during the process, the practitioner will bring you back to the present before going ahead to another traumatic memory. Over time, the distress over certain memories, thoughts or images should start to fade.

Phase 8: Evaluation

This is the final phase where you’ll be asked to evaluate your progress and the therapist will do the same.

Benefits of EMDR Therapy

So, what is EMDR and how does it work? People with PTSD and those dealing with traumatic memories are thought to benefit from EMDR therapy. It’s considered quite effective for those who find it difficult to talk and share their experiences with others. Although there is no concrete evidence to prove how EMDR therapy has been effective in these areas, it’s also being used to treat addictions, eating disorders, anxiety, panic attacks and depression.

Bottom Line

So how many sessions does EMDR therapy take? Treatment will usually take about 6-12 sessions. It’s important to note that EMDR therapy is considered safe, with relatively fewer side effects compared to prescription medications. If you’re considering EMDR therapy, be sure to talk to your health practitioner beforehand and know what it is. This sort of therapy can also help with effective couples therapy and other traumatic issues that one may be dealing with.