What does EMDR consist of?


Following assessment it will be identified whether EMDR will be the predominant intervention to be utilised. If it is thought that learning more effective coping strategies is appropriate in the first instance then this will be undertaken within a cognitive-behavioural framework. When EMDR is to be used, time will be taken to explain the process and demonstrate the eye movements so that you are fully prepared.


EMDR requires you to focus on 3 main aspects of the chosen event that you wish to work on:


A visual image, which is usually the most upsetting part of the event.


The negative thought, or thoughts, that you have about yourself in relation to the event.


The emotions and physical feelings you experience when thinking about the event in the session.


Focusing on these aspects you then track the therapist’s fingers in rapid saccadic eye movements and after each set of such movements, you will be asked to say what you are experiencing. During the course of this process, a decrease in the emotional impact of the memory of the event usually occurs. This decrease may be gradual but in some instances can be sudden. In addition your thoughts about the event can modify into a more helpful way of thinking. On some occasions upsetting memories that have been forgotten can suddenly come to the surface – if this occurs then these memories will be worked on.


An EMDR session normally lasts 90 minutes. The number of EMDR sessions needed will be negotiated between you and the therapist.