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EMDR Therapy for the Treatment of Emotional Trauma
In the EMDR Therapy process, the therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem that will be the focus of treatment. The client describes the traumatic incident, from which he is helped by the therapist to select the most important and most distressing aspects of that incident. While the client makes eye movements (or any other Dual Attention Stimulus), other parts of the traumatic memory or other memories come to mind. The therapist interrupts eye movements every so often to ensure the client is processing properly.
Dual Attention Stimulus used in the EMDR Therapy (previously called Bilateral Stimulation) may be a visual, here the patient moves the eyes from side to side guided by the therapist; auditory, here the patient hears alternate sounds in both ears or kinesthetic where the therapist tapping gently and alternately on the patient's hands or shoulders. This facilitates the connection between the two cerebral hemispheres, achieving information processing and reducing the emotional load.
The therapist guides the process, making clinical decisions about the direction the intervention should follow. The goal is for the client to process the information about the traumatic incident, leading to an "adaptive resolution", as stated by Francine Shapiro this mean: a) a reduction of symptoms; b) a change in beliefs and c) the possibility of functioning better in daily life.
The approach used in EMDR Therapy is based on three main points: early life experiences, stressful experiences of the present, and thoughts and behaviors desired for the future.