The 8 phases in EMDR
Phases 3-8 will be repeated multiple times throughout the EMDR process if you have multiple traumatic memories that need addressed.
1. Client History
Information is collected about your symptoms, experiences, and triggers to help determine if you would benefit from EMDR. “Targets” — specific memories — that are related to your difficulties will be identified during this phase.
EMDR therapy will be explained in detail: how it works, what you can expect during the EMDR process, the purpose of shoulder tapping, and several coping and grounding exercises you will use throughout the EMDR process.
During this phase, a specific target memory and any related beliefs will be identified. Your current level of distress related to the memory will be assessed.
Using alternating shoulder taps, you will reprocess your target memory to reduce your distress related to it. Your level of distress will be assessed at multiple points throughout the process.
You will focus on the target memory while thinking about a new, more functional belief. You will then complete additional shoulder tapping to increase how true the new belief feels to you.
6. Body Scan
Here, you will be guided through a Body Scan exercise to help identify any lingering tension or tightness in your body.
Following the completion of the previous steps, you will be informed of what you can expect following an EMDR session. You will be encouraged to continue using your grounding strategies, and to write down the things you notice in the days following a session.
At the start of your next session, your distress level related to the target memory from last session will be assessed. You may need to spend additional time reprocessing the target memory or additional target memories may be identified that you want to work through.