Leone Centre Glossary

Assessment Phase in EMDR

Assessment Phase

The Assessment Phase in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) is a critical step in the therapeutic process, focusing on identifying target memories and associated details for processing.

Identifying Memories

This phase addresses the need to pinpoint specific traumatic memories and related aspects that contribute to a person’s distress.

Detailed Examination

The Assessment Phase involves a thorough examination of the specific traumatic memories to be processed during EMDR. This phase emphasises a structured and careful approach to ensure memory processing. This phase is vital for the success of EMDR therapy as it lays the groundwork for the reprocessing of traumatic memories. By identifying the precise memories and their associated details, the therapist can guide the client through the EMDR process.

About the Assessment Phase

The Assessment Phase is the second phase in EMDR therapy, focusing on gathering information about the traumatic memories to be addressed. This phase is vital for adapting the therapy to the individual’s specific needs.

Steps Involved

The steps taken during the Assessment Phase include:

  1. Identifying target memories that cause distress.
  2. Noting the emotions and physical sensations connected to these memories.
  3. Establishing a baseline for tracking progress throughout the therapy.


What is the purpose of the Assessment Phase in EMDR?
The purpose is to identify specific traumatic memories and the associated emotional and physical reactions to prepare for processing in subsequent phases of EMDR therapy.
How are target memories selected?
Target memories are selected based on their impact on the individual’s current emotional and psychological state. The therapist works with the client to identify the most distressing memories for processing.
Why is the Assessment Phase important?
The Assessment Phase is important because it ensures that the therapy is focused and helpful by targeting specific memories that need to be reprocessed, which helps in alleviating the individual’s distress.


  1. EMDR International Association – About EMDR Therapy
  2. Verywell Mind – What Is EMDR Therapy?
  3. Psychology Today – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision