Leone Centre Glossary

Preparation Phase in EMDR

Preparation Phase

The Preparation Phase in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) is an essential step that sets the foundation for successful therapy. This phase helps build a strong therapeutic alliance and prepares the individual for the processing phases.

Preparation Phase Overview

The Preparation Phase involves educating the client about EMDR, establishing a safe and trusting relationship, and equipping the individual with essential skills for emotional regulation. This phase ensures the client feels secure and prepared to handle the processing of distressing memories.

Key Features:

  1. Building a therapeutic relationship
  2. Educating about EMDR and its processes
  3. Teaching emotional regulation methods
  4. Establishing safety and trust


  1. Enhances the usefulness of subsequent EMDR phases
  2. Reduces anxiety about the therapy process
  3. Ensures emotional stability during the therapy

Convenience and Flexibility:

  1. Adapted to the individual’s pace and comfort level
  2. Adaptable to different therapeutic needs

How it Helps

This phase helps clients feel safe and informed, making them more comfortable and willing to engage in the therapy process. It also equips them with skills to manage emotional distress.

How it Works

During this phase, the therapist provides information about EMDR, addresses any questions or concerns, and teaches approaches for emotional regulation. This may include relaxation exercises, mindfulness practices, and other methods.


What is the purpose of the Preparation Phase in EMDR?
The purpose is to build a trusting therapeutic relationship, educate the client about EMDR, and teach skills for managing emotional distress.
How long does the Preparation Phase last?
The duration varies depending on the individual’s needs and comfort level, but it typically spans a few sessions.
What activites are taught during this phase?
Actions such as relaxation exercises, mindfulness practices, and other methods for emotional regulation are taught.


  1. Shapiro, F. (2017). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy, Third Edition: Basic Principles, Protocols, and Procedures. The Guilford Press.
  2. Parnell, L. (2013). Attachment-Focused EMDR: Healing Relational Trauma. W. W. Norton & Company.
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision