Leone Centre Glossary

Free Association in EMDR

Free Association

Free association is a key aspect of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Free association in EMDR encourages clients to express thoughts and memories without censorship. This process helps uncover underlying issues and emotions linked to trauma.

About Free Association

Free association involves expressing thoughts spontaneously without filtering or judging, providing a pathway to deeper understanding.

Key Features

  1. Enhanced Clarity: Facilitates the emergence of unconscious thoughts.
  2. Holistic Insight: Helps integrate fragmented memories.
  3. Flexible Process: Adapts to the individual’s unique mental landscape.

How It Helps

Enables the release of suppressed emotions and thoughts, contributing to emotional healing.

How It Works

During EMDR sessions, clients are encouraged to let their thoughts flow freely while following bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements. This process helps access and reprocess traumatic memories.


What is free association in EMDR?
Free association in EMDR is a technique where clients express thoughts and memories without censorship, aiding in the processing of trauma.
How does free association benefit EMDR therapy?
Free association benefits EMDR therapy by uncovering unconscious thoughts and emotions, facilitating deeper emotional healing.
What can I expect during a free association exercise in EMDR?
During a free association exercise in EMDR, you will be encouraged to let your thoughts flow freely while engaging in bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, to access and reprocess traumatic memories.


  1. EMDR Institute: What is EMDR?
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information: EMDR Therapy
  3. Psychology Today: EMDR 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