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EMDR Therapy and its 8 Phases

Have you considered seeing a therapist for EMDR Therapy but felt nervous about what the process might look like? Some clients have reported that EMDR Therapy can seem intimidating or even confusing; however, the process is actually quite simple and quick to complete compared to other treatment methods. 

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is used to help people process and heal from difficult situations they have endured in their life. EMDR therapy has been extensively researched and documented as an effective treatment for people who may be experiencing:

  • PTSD
  • Complex Trauma/C-PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Grief 
  • Low self-esteem and confidence

EMDR consists of an 8-phase framework. These phases are not always linear, but they are necessary for completing treatment. The 8 phases consist of:

  • Phase 1-  History and Treatment Planning: During this phase, you will meet with your therapist to discuss your history and goals for therapy. Developing a professional, working relationship between you and your therapist happens.
  • Phase 2 – Preparation: During this phase, your therapist will thoroughly explain the process of EMDR, address any concerns you may have, or answer any questions. Your therapist will also teach you specific techniques to cope with potential emotional disturbances that may arise between reprocessing sessions.
  • Phase 3- Assessment: During this phase, your therapist will help you map out major and minor disturbances you have endured throughout your life. Your therapist will assess an initial baseline prior to desensitization.
  • Phase 4- Desensitization: During this phase, your therapist will begin bilateral stimulation (BLS)  to support you in reprocessing memories.
  • Phase 5 – Installation: During this phase, your therapist will assist you with strengthening positive belief systems in relation to your past difficult experiences.
  • Phase 6 – Body Scan: During this phase, your therapist will ask you to do a body scan to ensure that there isn’t any tension left in your body from the difficult experience. Your therapist will assess the results and utilize BLS as needed.
  • Phase 7 – Closure: This phase is used at the end of every session Here, you will use the skills you learned in Phase 2 to ensure you are leaving the session feeling as calm as possible.
  • Phase 8 – Reevaluation: This phase occurs at the beginning of the next session (once you have begun phase 4). This helps you and your therapist know what has changed between sessions and utilizes specific grading scales.



If you feel like you would benefit from EMDR Therapy, please reach out to scheduling@cfctherapy.com to set up a consultation.

By: Josette Shine

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