FINDING YOUR TARGETS
In order to become effective at using an at-home EMDR program like Virtual EMDR, you must clearly understand three things:
If you think about it, your Targets should be pretty easy to determine-they are the very things that are causing you to seek out EMDR therapy.
The Targets you select are what you will mentally focus on during your session while using the Virtual EMDR Session Tool.
You must be completely clear on what you will be focusing on in your EMDR session if you hope to make a breakthrough and change or eliminate the behavior.
Targets are the issues that cause you upset in your daily life and may include:
CHOOSING YOUR EMDR TARGETS
Here are some general examples of different types of EMDR Targets:
Fear of Flying: If you struggle with a fear of flying, try to imagine yourself taking off on a plane. Imagine as closely as you can what it would be like to be sitting in a seat on an airliner as it is taking off. If you previously had a bad experience on an airplane, imagine what it felt like to be there-visualize what you saw.
FEAR SAMPLE TARGETS
Fear of Public Speaking: Imagine being there in front of a large audience talking. Would your hands be sweating? Can you see the audience in front of you? Can you see yourself fumbling through your speech and blowing it?
FEAR SAMPLE TARGETS
For Trauma/PTSD: Your Target images are mental snap-shots related to the traumatic incident. If it was an auto accident, remember specific details of the experience such as pain or breaking glass. If you were a victim of a crime, physical or sexual assault, or domestic violence, your Target images are specific mental pictures of what it was like to survive through that incident. Were you harassed and emotionally hurt? Imagine specific mental pictures of where the trauma occurred. Find the mental snap shot that is the most terrifying and violating. Are you a combat veteran who is struggling with PTSD? Imagine the moment in war that you just can’t seem to get past-these are your Targets.
TRAUMA/PTSD SAMPLE TARGETS
For Grief/Loss (Death, Divorce, Loss of a Loved One, Break Up, Miscarriage): Focus on mental Target images related to your loss. Remember what it was like to be with person before they passed away, conjure a mental image of your marriage or relationship before it ended, remember what it was like to lose your child to miscarriage. Whatever the situation you are grieving about, let your mind focus on mental snapshots relating to the experience and the pain that you feel.
GRIEF/LOSS SAMPLE TARGETS
For General Fear/Anxiety: What is it you are fearing or anxious about? A big meeting at work? A first date? A medical procedure? Target the specific feeling-the tightness in your chest, the feeling of unease, or the overwhelming fearfulness during your session.
FEAR/ANXIETY SAMPLE TARGETS
For Unwanted Emotions (Depression, Low Self-Esteem, Anger and Rage): Focus on incidents where the specific emotions were a problem. For depression, imagine a scenario of some of your lowest moments. Maybe it is sitting home alone and feeling hopeless that life can ever get any better, or maybe it is not even bringing yourself to get out of bed and face the day. For low self-esteem, think of those times specific times in your life where you feel less than the people around you, or those incidents where you belittle yourself and feel less than everyone else. For Anger and Rage, think back to some of your recent outbursts.
DEPRESSION/LOW SELF-ESTEEM SAMPLE TARGETS
Almost every difficult emotion is accompanied by some sort of attached negative self-talk. Think about the Targets you’ve chosen and ask yourself-do I have any Negative Beliefs about myself that are associated with this Target?
Here are some examples:
Negative Beliefs may also include thoughts such as: “I am a victim”, “I am weak/foolish”, “I cannot change this” or “I will always be wrong”.
What things do you believe about yourself? What do you believe will never change? What do you believe is preventing you from making this change? What do you believe is outside of your ability to control?
Let your Negative Beliefs come from the heart. Do not censor or judge this process, and be sure to be honest and true. It is normal to feel ashamed, guilty, or even disappointed in yourself as you do this exercise-this is part of the EMDR process. Having your negative beliefs clearly in mind is an important part of the brain reprogramming process of EMDR.
During your EMDR session, you will also be asked to replace your Negative Beliefs with a positive thought or belief that you would like to have instead-in EMDR therapy, this process is called Installation.
This process is to simply stimulate your mind with a Positive Belief of how you would LIKE the situation to be instead.
For example, “I will never be happy” would transform into “I can live an amazing life”, “I cannot change the past” would become “I have the power to control MY future”, and “I will always be wrong” would become “I may have been wrong in the past, but I don’t have to be wrong going forward”.
The goal of this process is to install a Positive Belief in your mind that replaces memory associated with the current negative beliefs that are linked to your Targets.
When ready, you will add your selected Targets, Negative Beliefs, and Positive Beliefs to your Session Worksheet.