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subjective units of disturbance scale

A 0-10 scale where 0 represents neutral, no disturbance, to 10, where 10 represents the worst disturbance the client can imagine. The SUDS was developed by Joseph Wolpe, M.D., and is widely used in behavior therapy. Research has shown that the SUDS correlates highly with certain physiological indicators of distress. The SUDS is used to assess the intensity of any negative affect. The SUDS is checked before treatment for a baseline reading when the client holds the representative image of a target and the negative cognition in mind. The SUDS is checked occasionally when it appears that the target may have been desensitized or to help assess treatment progress. The Desensitization phase (phase 4) continues until the client reports a SUDS of 0 or, if ecologically appropriate, 1 or more.

Definition extracted from their first level training manual with permission from EMDR Institute, Inc.