Leone Centre Glossary

Trauma Processing in EMDR

Trauma Processing

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic approach that helps individuals process traumatic memories. This method is recognised for its helpfulness in transforming the emotional response to traumatic experiences, facilitating a path to healing and integration.

Challenges with Trauma

Traumatic experiences can leave a lasting impact, manifesting in emotional, psychological, and sometimes physical distress. Individuals may struggle with intrusive memories, heightened anxiety, and difficulty in leading a fulfilling life. Understanding the process of trauma processing in EMDR can illuminate how this approach addresses these challenges.

EMDR Process Explained

The EMDR process involves a structured eight-phase approach. This includes history-taking, preparation, assessment, desensitisation, installation, body scan, closure, and re-evaluation. During these phases, bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, is used to help reprocess traumatic memories. Key benefits include reduced emotional distress and improved adaptive functioning.

What is EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. It is a therapeutic method developed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories. The approach facilitates the processing of these memories to reduce their lingering effects. EMDR helps by reprocessing traumatic memories, enabling individuals to integrate these experiences in a way that no longer causes emotional harm. This process can lead to significant improvements in mental health and overall well-being.

How EMDR Works

The EMDR process involves the use of bilateral stimulation, such as guided eye movements, taps, or auditory tones. These stimulate the brain’s information processing system, allowing traumatic memories to be reprocessed and integrated into a healthier context.


What is the primary goal of EMDR?
The primary goal of EMDR is to help individuals reprocess traumatic memories so they can be integrated in a way that reduces emotional distress and enhances adaptive functioning.
How long does EMDR therapy usually take?
The duration of EMDR therapy varies depending on the individual’s needs and the complexity of their trauma. It can range from a few sessions to several months.
Is EMDR useful for all types of trauma?
EMDR has been shown to help with a wide range of traumatic experiences, though individual responses can vary. It is best to consult with an experienced therapist to determine its suitability.


  1. EMDR Institute, Inc.
  2. EMDR International Association
  3. NHS UK on EMDR
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision