(Free Download) EMDR VOC Scale: Its Purpose and Application


EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, has emerged as a transformative therapy for individuals navigating trauma. Integral to the EMDR process is a range of assessment tools, and one of the most pivotal among these is the VOC Scale. But what is the VOC Scale, and how is it implemented within the context of EMDR? Let's explore.

What is the VOC Scale?

VOC stands for Validity of Cognition. The VOC Scale is a self-assessment instrument designed to measure the believability of a positive cognition or a positive belief that a patient would like to have about themselves in relation to a traumatic memory.

The scale spans from 1 to 7, with the following implications:

  • 1 signifies complete disbelief in the positive cognition.
  • 7 represents total belief or conviction in the positive cognition.

For instance, if an individual is working on a traumatic event where they felt powerless, the positive cognition might be "I am in control." The VOC Scale then helps measure how much they currently believe this positive statement to be true about themselves.

How is the VOC Scale used in EMDR?

  1. Identifying Positive Cognitions: At the onset of EMDR therapy, therapists collaborate with patients to identify a positive cognition they'd like to believe about themselves concerning the traumatic event.

  2. Baseline Assessment: Before delving into the desensitization phase, therapists inquire how true the positive cognition feels to the patient "right now" when they think of the traumatic event, using the VOC Scale.

  3. Tracking Progress: As therapy unfolds and patients process the trauma, their belief in the positive cognition typically grows. Repeatedly assessing VOC scores helps therapists and patients observe this progression.

  4. Session Goals: The aim is to have the VOC score move closer to 7, signifying that the patient fully believes in the positive cognition. While a score of 7 is ideal, the real goal is a significant increase from the initial score, showcasing a shift in belief.

  5. Therapeutic Decision-making: If the VOC score isn't showing a desired upward trend, it can hint at the need for a different therapeutic approach, more processing, or exploration of underlying barriers to adopting the positive belief.

In Conclusion

The EMDR VOC Scale is a beacon that guides both therapists and patients through the therapeutic process, ensuring that not only is the trauma being addressed but also that individuals are moving towards embracing empowering beliefs about themselves. By quantifying belief, the VOC Scale provides a clear, actionable path towards transformation and healing.


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