What Is EMDR Therapy

April 14, 2024

What Is EMDR Therapy?

This video explains what EMDR therapy is and what EMDR therapy looks like in a counseling session.

For your convenience, I've also added the transcript below.



EMDR: Extensively researched and evidence-based Effective psychotherapy Helps people recover form trauma and other distressing life experiences (without talking at length) Eight Phases (over the course of a number of sessions) *should always be administered by a professional who is fully trained in EMDR therapy


Phase 1 History Taking & Treatment Planning


1. History Taking & Treatment Planning Phase The therapist develops a treatment plan according to your needs and situation. Your therapist will help you identify important aspects of your life story. You will discover the connection between your current problems and your past. You will identify your strengths & resources. Your personal and cultural context are important.


Phase 2: Preparation


2. Preparation Phase Your therapist will explain EMDR, clarify expectations & test out eye movements (tapping or tones) and: Build a working relationship with you. Address your concerns. Help you develop tools to continue with the next phases of EMDR. Address your readiness for the next phases.


Phase 3: Assessment


3. Assessment Phase Your therapist and you agree to work on a memory of a disturbing event and briefly talk about it. Your therapist asks questions about the event including: Images Thoughts Feelings Body sensations


Phase 4: Desensitization


4. Desensitization Phase You think about the event AND follow movements with your eyes (or use tapping or tones). Reprocessing begins (working on disturbing memory). You notice what happens in your thoughts, feelings and body sensations without judging or trying to change…and Go with that for each set. Note: you and your therapist are usually silent during sets.


4. Desensitization Phase Your therapist will stop eye movements periodically and say: “Take a breath and tell me what you notice now?” You will briefly report what you notice. The therapist says: “Go with that.” You continue to notice any changes in thoughts, feelings, images, and body sensations WHILE continuing eye movements (or tapping or tones) until distress is reduced or eliminated.


Phase 5: Installation


5. Installation Phase You will link the event with an adaptive positive belief such as: “I did the best I could,” or “I am safe now” WHILE continuing eye movements (or tapping or tones).


Phase 6: Body Scan


Body Scan Phase You think about the original event AND a positive belief while scanning your body. Lingering tension or unusual sensations are identified and reprocessed with more eye movements (tapping or tones).


Phase 7: Closure


7. Closure Phase Your therapist helps you shift attention away from the event. Your therapist helps you to return to a calm state and strategies for containment are discussed. Your therapist talks to you about what to expect between sessions.


Phase 8: Re-evaluation


8. Re-evaluation Phase In the next session, you will review with your therapist what happened after your last session. Identify overall changes in your symptoms ore situation. Identify changes to the memory of the event: “What comes up now when you think about the event?” Continue with same event (if needed) or move to next disturbing memory.