Leone Centre Glossary

History Taking in EMDR

History Taking

History Taking in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) is a vital initial step in the therapeutic process. It involves gathering comprehensive background information to understand a client’s experiences and identify the focus areas for therapy. This process helps in identifying the client’s past traumatic experiences, current triggers, and overall mental health status.

About History-Taking

History taking in EMDR involves several components:

  1. Client’s Background: Detailed information about the client’s personal history, including significant life events and developmental history.
  2. Trauma Identification: Recognising specific traumatic events and their impact on the client’s life.
  3. Current Triggers: Identifying present-day situations or stimuli that evoke distress related to past trauma.
  4. Mental Health Assessment: Understanding the client’s mental health status to inform the EMDR treatment plan.

What it Involves

The history-taking phase in EMDR involves:

  1. Comprehensive interviews
  2. Questionnaires
  3. Psychological assessments

This process ensures that the therapy is customised to address the client’s unique needs and challenges.

How it Works

The therapist uses the information gathered to develop a targeted EMDR treatment plan, ensuring that the therapy addresses the specific traumatic memories and current triggers.


What is the purpose of history taking in EMDR?
History taking helps in understanding the client’s background, and identifying traumatic experiences and current triggers, which are key to developing an EMDR treatment plan.
How long does the history-taking process take?
The duration can vary depending on the complexity of the client’s history, but it generally involves several sessions.
What information is collected during history taking?
Information about the client’s personal history, significant life events, traumatic experiences, current triggers, and overall mental health is collected.


  1. Shapiro, F. (2001). Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing: Basic Principles, Protocols, and Procedures. Guilford Press.
  2. EMDR International Association. (2021). EMDR Therapy: An Overview. EMDRIA.
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision