EMDR 2.0 is built on the original EMDR protocol but includes several adjustments to improve its efficiency in treating patients with complex PTSD. It still uses the eight-phase protocol of standard EMDR, but does not necessarily replace it.
How does EMDR 2.0 work?
EMDR 2.0 includes a stronger emphasis on activating memory and challenging working memory. Working memory is like your brain’s temporary storage and processing system. It’s what you use to hold onto information for a short time while thinking or doing something. Your working memory is limited, so you can’t hold too much at once.
There are three main things that EMDR 2.0 does
- First, the therapist talks to the person to help them put the difficult memory in their mind (working memory). This helps the person prepare for the therapy and understand how it works.
- Then, they help the person makes the memory stronger, by helping the person to focus on all aspects of the memory like taste, smell, sound, feel etc.
- Finally, the therapist uses different tasks to help the person deal with the memory. These tasks could include superfast eye movements, tapping, counting, clapping and V-steps. The therapist may use tasks that fit the type of memory being worked on. For instance, if the memory has a strong sound part (like a sigh), they might use tasks that involve listening or speaking, like counting or spelling. This helps make the therapy more effective.
Because the working memory has limited capacity, the doing of the tasks competes with the difficult memory and fragments it, helping to process and make it less disturbing.
Is EMDR 2.0 better than standard EMDR?
We need more research. A highlight of a recent study concluded that
As a long-time practitioner of EMDR, discovering and implementing the EMDR 2.0 protocol has been a significant breakthrough for both my clients and me at EMDR Therapy Sydney. The protocol has allowed us to complete more profound and challenging work in fewer sessions for some cases. However, it depends on the client and where they are in their processing of disturbing memories.
An experienced EMDR practitioner will use both protocols as needed.
EMDR 2.0 is based on the clinical experience of therapy providers lead by Dr Ad de Jongh and Dr Suzy Matthijssen using scientific research on how our working memory affects the recall of traumatic experiences. The premise behind EMDR 2.0 is that by increasing a patient’s motivation, activating their memory more effectively, and challenging their working memory more strongly, the therapy can be even more helpful in treating PTSD.
Dr. Suzy Matthijssen is a clinical psychologist-psychotherapist who specializes in trauma treatment. She is also a senior researcher and teaches at the university. Her research focuses on improving trauma treatments, including using intensive trauma treatments and working memory theory. Dr. Matthijssen is the head of the Altrecht Academic Anxiety Centre and the intensive trauma treatment program. She holds leadership roles in the Dutch EMDR association and EMDR Europe, as well as the Future of EMDR project.
Dr. Ad de Jongh is a clinical psychologist and professor of Anxiety and Behavior Disorders at the University of Amsterdam. He is also a professor at several other universities. Ad helped create the Psychotrauma Expertise Center (PSYTREC) and is in charge of the research department. He is an expert in treating anxiety disorders and conducts research on the effectiveness of treatments for various patient groups, including traumatized children, people with intellectual disabilities, and those with complex psychiatric conditions like psychosis. Dr. de Jongh is a recognized EMDR trainer and involved in the Future of EMDR project. He has won multiple awards for his research.