Phases 7 & 8:
Answering the "what", "why" and "how" of each phase of EMDR.
Phase 7 of EMDR Therapy: Closure
What is the purpose of this phase? :
During reprocessing, it is expected to experience some levels of dysregulation. The purpose of Phase 7 is to ensure that you have returned to a more manageable and calmer state after reprocessing.
Why is it important to go through this phase? :
Most targets being reprocessed tend to take more than one session. Phase 7 is used even when a target is considered 'unfinished' (SUD [subjective units of disturbance] is not at a level of zero).
The ability to pendulate between a dysregulated state back to a regulated state helps to widen your window of tolerance.
How can you expect Phase 7 to look? :
Phase 7 is used at the end of each reprocessing session. This is where we revisit and use the tools and skills learned and practiced during Phase 2.
Some examples of this may include:
Container, Calm Place/State, Attachment Resources (nurturing, protective, etc.)
Other grounding techniques may be used by your therapist including:
Breath-work, connecting to the present through the 5-senses, and other mindfulness practices.
Phase 8 of EMDR Therapy: Reevaluation
What is the purpose of Phase 8? :
The intention of Phase 8 is to discuss any notable changes related to target memory between sessions.
Some examples of this may include (but are not limited to):
Changes in symptoms
Changes in behaviors
Changes in reactivity to present day triggers
Insights, thoughts, dreams, or other relevant information
When a target has been completed through the reprocessing phases, your therapist will use Phase 8 to assure that SUD is 0 and PC (preferred cognition) is at a 7.
Why is this an important part of EMDR? :
Phase 8 helps to identify if the current target needs additional reprocessing.
The processing started in a session doesn't stop once you leave your therapist's office. Between sessions you may notice reduced symptoms and reduced level of disturbance associated with memory.
The reevaluation phase is used to reassess treatment plans and the necessary targets needed to reprocess.
It is common that other associations or memories come up as a bi-product of reprocessing. These additional associations may be added to your treatment plan accordingly.
In some cases, when processing memories on the same theme or memory network other previously distressing memories may no longer hold the same "charge" or level of disturbance they once did.
How does the Reevaluation phase look? :
Phase 8 is used at the beginning of each session after reprocessing of a target has begun.
Your therapist may encourage you to keep a journal or notes of any significant changes identified between session.
Keeping track of what is referred to as TICES (Triggers, Images, Cognitions, Emotions, and Sensations) will be helpful in keeping track of your work outside of sessions with your therapist.
Check out: Our own practice owner, Dana Carretta-Stein's book The EMDR Therapy Progress Journal geared toward the client's perspective and to guide you to reach your goals with your therapist. Available in E-Book, Paperback and Hardcover.
To Recap, EMDR therapy attends to three important time periods including: past, present and future. Using an 8-phase approach, each time period is addressed as it relates to the issue you are looking to work on in treatment. Each phase will look different for everyone and the length of time for EMDR therapy is a unique treatment plan.
In case you missed the other parts to this blog series, check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of EMDR Therapy: Breaking Down the 8 Phases
At Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling, we are passionate about EMDR therapy and working with our clients to obtain their individual healing path on the road to living in their joy.
Annabella Lipson is a Mental Health Counselor at Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling in Scarsdale, NY
She enjoys working with young adults & adults who are dealing with stress, anxiety, grief, PTSD and other challenges.
Annabella incorporates a combination of EMDR Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Ego-state Interventions and Mindfulness practices with her clients.