EMDR process

EMDR contains an 8 stage protocol:

History taking

Problems you currently identify, trauma throughout your life, hopes & goals.

You will not be asked to discuss the events in detail. The emotions & physical sensations surrounding the event are what’s important, not the details themselves.


A discussion of EMDR, bolstering your resources for support & comfort, listing targets of the things that currently cause you upset. Teaching you some self-care techniques so you can handle if anything comes up in between sessions.

Targets for Performance Enhancement can be:

Past experiences where you did not perform as you had hoped
Life experiences that lessened your confidence
Past negative messages
Current symptoms & feelings that prevent you from focusing
Any other barriers that keep you from working/performing/living up to your potential
(Rev. Lynn James)


You will be asked to identify 3 things:

A specific picture that best represents the target you are working on
A negative belief that the target makes you believe about yourself now
A positive belief you would rather hold about yourself now


At this stage, you will be asked to pay attention to the negative beliefs & disturbing emotions along with bodily sensations that come up for you when you concentrate on the image you chose while experiencing dual attention. I help you to do this by having you watch my finger go back & forth quickly so your eyes move rapidly, paying attention to quick alternating tapping on your knees or hands, or by experiencing alternation vibrations with a Thera-Tapper that you hold in the palms of your hands. This experience has been described as rapid daydreaming, watching scenery go by from the window of a train or bringing along the sensation of comfort when remembering the distress. After reprocessing, the goal is that you will be able to recall the charged memory with no distress and a positive belief. Desensitization continues over following appointments by targeting more current triggers as well as future triggers & rehearsing handling them well.

Rev. Lynn James writes that EMDR works by enhancing your body’s own natural healing process. It is your brain’s neural networks and channels of associations that control the EMDR desensitization process. The bilateral stimulation (dual attention) simply helps you move your awareness back and forth across the midline of your body so that the hemispheres of your brain talk to each other more efficiently.


Here you will concentrate on the positive belief you identified for yourself while experiencing dual attention. This phase is complete once you are able to experience the positive belief as completely true. New beliefs about the self and interpretations of the trauma replace old beliefs. These insights are used as starting points for the next set of eye movements, helping you to move through the trauma and process it in more manageable ways.

Body Scan

This phase has you focus on any lingering physical sensations you have in your body at this point in your process. I will add additional bilateral stimulation here, if need be, until discomfort is resolved.


It is my job to see that you feel better after each session than when you came in. If you have not competed the process in one session, we will end with a relaxation exercise. As well, I will remind you to use the resources we designed for you in the preparation phase and go over what you can expect during the week.


Each session begins with an evaluation of your progress. I will review your targets to see if you have maintained the positive results and if there are still concerns present, help you to process them through the same method. Once the target has been fully processed, we will use a dual attention method again to make sure the positive changes remain and for future performance & strengths enhancement.