What You Should Know about EMDR Procedures

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can disrupt everything about your life, from relationships, and work to your hobbies. Besides disrupting your everyday activities, you can develop other mental challenges like depression and eating disorders. If you have PTSD, you can consider Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) treatment. You can get this therapy from various EMDR Park Slope centers countrywide.

EMDR enables you to process traumatic memories by moving your eyes in specific ways. If you are wondering what it entails, here are the steps on how specialists conduct it.

History Taking

In this step, your therapist will ask you when you first had PTSD. Your story helps the expert draft an overview of your past traumatic events and determine if EMDR is right for you. After confirming that you are eligible for it, the therapist can create a target sequence plan. To create an effective plan, your therapist will ask you to rate how severe your PTSD level is on a scale of 0-10.

This stage also helps you to discover your therapist’s style. You can decide whether or not to get another counselor.


At this point, the therapist explains everything you need to know about EMDR. During the procedure, you may experience some emotional distress. Both of you will agree on techniques to reduce your stress when that happens. This is an opportunity to ask as many questions as possible to ensure you are not caught off guard.

Also, your therapist will conduct a brief assessment to determine whether you can experience dissociation. After that, they will explain the significance of the back-and-forth eye movements and tactile sensations throughout the session.

Identification of Negative Thoughts

In this phase, the therapist helps you to identify specific memories and themes. Besides identifying the events, the healthcare provider will want to know about your feelings and body sensations towards them. Based on your reaction to the events, the therapist will rate your positive cognition on a scale of 1-7.

Next, the counselor will ask you about the positive beliefs you would like to have after EMDR. These help you to look at your traumatic event in a different light.


Here, the therapist tries to help your brain change how it processes trauma. The therapist will display a series of images that evokes negative reactions. You will focus on each image for around 25 seconds before moving on to the next. The technique employed here is known as bilateral stimulation. This method helps the counselor monitor your eyes’ movements, which helps them to know whether or not you are desensitized.

After each image, you will be asked to take deep breaths and provide feedback. The expert will adjust the speed and length after monitoring your eye movements based on your response.


Before the session ends, the counselor will install positive thoughts in you if it is successful. After that, they will take a body scan to monitor any tension within your body. Once satisfied, the session will be closed.


Although EMDR is a new technique, many mental specialists have endorsed its use. The beauty of this treatment is that it cures other issues besides PTSD. Other problems it tackles include personality disorders, phobias, bipolar disorders, grief, sleep disturbance, and so on.

Some therapists favor this technique since it requires less homework. That means they do not have to write journals about their clients. Journaling is unnecessary since the counselor will get instant results, and the session does not drag on for months. It is, therefore, important for therapists and clients to consider EMDR as one form of treatment.

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