8 Phases Of EMDR

Explore the 8 Phases of EMDR, a proven therapeutic approach for PTSD, anxiety, and more. Understand each phase's purpose in the treatment process.

By Telita Montales on Apr 08, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What are the 8 Phases of EMDR?

Experiencing trauma can evoke overwhelming emotions similar to a haunting replay of a distressing memory. Imagine recalling a personal incident that shatters the sense of safety, plunging you into a sea of negative emotions. Traumatic memories disrupt positive cognitions, breeding fear and anxiety.

However, in an EMDR therapy session, individuals confront these unpleasant memories while fostering positive belief through stimulation. Self-control techniques become pivotal in navigating through the intense emotional currents. Each session delves into the client's history, gradually reshaping the traumatic narrative. Through this therapeutic journey, individuals regain a sense of empowerment, transforming the shadows of past trauma into stepping stones toward healing.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a transformative psychotherapeutic technique developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s. This evidence-based approach is primarily employed for individuals grappling with traumatic memories or distressing experiences. Central to EMDR therapy are its eight meticulously structured phases, each serving a unique purpose in helping patients navigate through their trauma, process it, and ultimately reduce its psychological impact.

The first phase, History Taking, involves thoroughly exploring the patient's past and identifying potential targets for EMDR processing. The subsequent Preparation phase focuses on establishing trust between the therapist and the patient, explaining the EMDR process, and teaching self-soothing techniques.

The third phase, Assessment, sees the EMDR therapist aiding the patient in selecting a specific memory for treatment, and identifying associated negative beliefs, emotions, and body sensations. Desensitization, the fourth phase, involves the therapist guiding the patient through eye movements or other bilateral stimulation to reduce emotional distress linked to the targeted memory.

In the Installation phase, the therapist strengthens positive beliefs the patient wishes to associate with the memory, replacing the initial negative ones. The sixth phase, the Body Scan, involves the patient scanning their body for any residual physical sensations linked to the distressing memory.

The seventh phase, Closure, ensures the patient leaves each session feeling better than or as good as at the beginning, using self-soothing techniques if required. Finally, in the 'Reevaluation' phase, the therapist checks to ensure that the positive effects of previous sessions have been maintained and determines the next steps in treatment.

To learn more about documenting each phase, refer to our 8 Phases Of EMDR resources, which provide clear instructions and valuable resources for healthcare professionals delving into EMDR therapy.

Printable 8 Phases of EMDR

This comprehensive guide about this therapeutic method navigates traumatic memories, shaping a treatment plan that addresses negative emotions while fostering positive cognition. Delve into the client's history to unravel underlying issues, allowing tailored interventions. Identify future goals to guide the transformative journey towards treatment goals.

Printable 8 Phases Of EMDR

Download this 8 Phases Of EMDR to conduct effective therapeutic treatment.

How does it work?

Phase 1: History taking 

The therapist gathers comprehensive information about the patient's history, current triggers, and identifying potential targets for EMDR processing.

Phase 2: Preparation 

The therapist establishes a rapport with the patient, explains the EMDR process, and teaches self-soothing techniques.

Phase 3: Assessment 

The therapist helps the patient select a specific memory for treatment and identifies associated thoughts, emotions, and body sensations in the assessment phase.

Phase 4: Desensitization 

The therapist guides the patient in the desensitization phase through sets of eye movements (or other forms of bilateral stimulation) to reduce the emotional distress linked to the memory.

Phase 5: Installation

The therapist works to strengthen positive beliefs that the patient would rather have instead of the negative ones initially associated with the memory.

Phase 6: Body scan 

In the body scan phase, therapist asks the patient to scan their body for any residual physical sensations or tension linked to the distressing memory.

Phase 7: Closure 

The therapist ensures that the patient leaves each session feeling better than or as good as at the beginning, using self-soothing techniques if needed.

Phase 8: Reevaluation 

At the beginning of subsequent sessions, the therapist checks to ensure that the positive effects of previous sessions have been maintained and determines the next steps in treatment.

Our printable 8 Phases Of EMDR can be a helpful tool for therapists and patients to track progress throughout this process.

8 Phases of EMDR example (sample)

For instance, a patient who has experienced a traumatic car accident may start by discussing the incident and related memories (Phase 1). They would then learn coping mechanisms like deep breathing exercises (Phase 2) before identifying the most distressing part of the memory and associated negative beliefs (Phase 3). The therapist would guide them through eye movements while focusing on the memory, gradually reducing emotional intensity (Phase 4). 

They would then work on reinforcing positive beliefs, such as "I am safe now" (Phase 5), before scanning for any remaining physical tension (Phase 6). The session would close with relaxation techniques, ensuring the patient feels calm and safe (Phase 7). In the next session, they would review progress and plan for future treatment (Phase 8). A detailed example is provided in this 8 Phases Of EMDR PDF.

Download this 8 Phases Of EMDR example:

8 Phases Of EMDRs Example (sample)

When would you use this form?

The 8 phases of the EMDR form are valuable tools practitioners can strategically utilize in various therapeutic scenarios. Originating from Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, this form is most commonly employed when treating patients grappling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD often manifests as a result of traumatic events such as accidents, abuse, or disasters, leading to distressing symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety. The structured approach of the 8 Phases of EMDR provides a practical roadmap for therapists to guide these patients through their trauma, helping them process and reduce the psychological impact of their experiences.

However, the use of this form isn't restricted solely to PTSD cases. Over time, research has shown that EMDR therapy �?? and, by extension, the 8 Phases of EMDR form �?? is also effective in treating other mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, and phobias. By carefully navigating through the eight phases, therapists can help patients confront and reprocess distressing memories associated with their condition, fostering a sense of control and reducing symptoms.

The 8 Phases of EMDR form serve multiple functions, making it a versatile tool in any therapist's arsenal. It guides therapy sessions, providing a structured approach to EMDR and ensuring that all necessary steps are followed. The form also aids in tracking treatment progress, allowing therapists and patients to monitor improvements over time. Furthermore, it facilitates clear and effective communication between the patient and therapist, enhancing mutual understanding and cooperation throughout the therapy process.

Ultimately, the 8 Phases of EMDR form is an invaluable resource for practitioners applying EMDR therapy. Whether it's used to treat PTSD, anxiety, depression, or phobias, this form can provide structure, promote progress tracking, and enhance patient-therapist communication, contributing to a more effective and efficient therapeutic process.


Embark on a transformative journey with the 8 Phases, offering a comprehensive framework for addressing traumatic memories and fostering holistic healing.

  1. Comprehensive treatment: The 8 Phases provide a meticulously structured approach, ensuring thorough examination of traumatic memories and facilitating a well-rounded therapeutic experience.
  2. Enhanced patient understanding: This tool empowers patients by providing clarity on the therapeutic process, enabling a more profound comprehension of their journey toward healing and progress.
  3. Facilitated communication: Acting as a bridge between therapist and patient, the 8 Phases enhance communication, fostering mutual understanding and collaboration in the therapeutic relationship.
  4. Progress tracking: Therapists can effortlessly monitor and track the patient's progress, ensuring a dynamic and tailored approach to the evolving needs of the therapeutic journey.

You can access our Free 8 Phases Of EMDR form on our platform.

Why use Carepatron as your 8 Phases of EMDR app?

In mental health therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a powerful tool. The structured approach of the 8 Phases of EMDR therapy has proven effective in treating conditions like PTSD, anxiety, depression, and phobias. However, managing the process can be complex, requiring careful tracking and documentation. This is where Carepatron comes into play.

Carepatron offers a user-friendly, secure platform specifically designed for administering and tracking the 8 Phases of EMDR. It simplifies practice management by providing therapists with intuitive tools that streamline patient care and data management.

Moreover, Carepatron fosters collaboration, facilitating seamless sharing across your team, professional network, and clients. The telehealth feature enhances communication, ensuring everyone involved in a patient's care is on the same page, fostering a more comprehensive and online EMDR Therapy.

Choosing Carepatron as your go-to 8 Phases of EMDR Software offers numerous benefits. From its user-friendly interface and robust security measures to its collaboration features and global recognition, Carepatron provides a comprehensive solution for EMDR therapists. Try Carepatron today.

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American Psychiatric Association. (2004). Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 161(11 Suppl), 3-31.

Chen, Y. R., Hung, K. W., Tsai, J. C., Chu, H., Chung, M. H., Chen, S. R., ... & Chou, K. R. (2014). Efficacy of eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing for patients with posttraumatic-stress disorder: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PloS one, 9(8), e103676.

World Health Organization. (2013). Guidelines for the management of conditions specifically related to stress. Geneva, WHO.

Who typically uses 8 Phases Of EMDRs?
Who typically uses 8 Phases Of EMDRs?

Commonly asked questions

Who typically uses 8 Phases Of EMDRs?

Typically, trained EMDR therapists use the 8 Phases of EMDR in their practice.

When are 8 Phases Of EMDRs used?

They are used during EMDR therapy sessions to guide treatment and track progress.

How are 8 Phases Of EMDRs used?

Each phase represents a step in the EMDR process, from history taking to reevaluation. The therapist guides the patient through these steps to help them process traumatic memories and reduce their psychological impact.

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