Discover the 8 phases of EMDR Therapy to treat traumatic events. From history and treatment plan to reevaluation and more.
1. History & Treatment Planning
Discuss client’s history and develop a treatment plan with attention to traumatic events to reprocess. Assess client’s internal and external resources.
Establish a therapeutic alliance. Explain EMDR therapy process and set expectations. Address client’s concerns and questions. Prepare clients with specific techniques to cope with emotional disturbance that may arise.
Identify the event to reprocess including images, beliefs, feelings, and sensations. Establish initial measures as baselines before reprocessing: Subjective Units of Distress (SUD) and Validity of Cognition (VOC).
Begin eye movements, taps, or other dual attention BLS* while client thinks about the traumatic event. Focus on decreasing client’s SUD until it reduces to zero (or 1 if appropriate) allowing new thoughts, images, feelings, and sensations to emerge. *BLS: bilateral stimulation
Strengthen a positive belief that the client wants to associate with the target event until it feels completely true.
6. Body Scan
The client is asked to hold in mind both the target event and the positive belief while scanning the body from head to toe. Process any lingering disturbance from the body with dual attention BLS.
Assist client to return to a state of calm in the present moment whether the reprocessing is complete or not. Reprocessing of an event is complete when the client feels neutral about it (SUD=0), the positive belief feels completely true (VOC=7), and the body is completely clear of disturbance.
At the beginning of each new session, therapist and client discuss recently processed memories to ensure that distress is still low and positive cognition is strong. Future targets and directions for continued treatment are determined.
EMDR International Association
Copyright © 2021 EMDR International Association
EMDR International Association. (2021, August 6). 8 phases of EMDR therapy [Infographic].
EMDR Therapists, General/Public