The Mechanics of EMDR: How Does It Work?

The Mechanics of EMDR | Wellspring Counselling Inc.

The Mechanics of EMDR: Illuminating the Path to Recovery

As we journey further into the transformative realm of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Therapy, a deeper understanding of its intricate mechanics becomes essential. This innovative approach to mental health is anchored in scientifically-backed techniques and principles designed to foster healing and self-discovery.

The 8 Phases of EMDR Therapy

EMDR Therapy is structured around eight distinct phases, each contributing to the holistic healing journey:

History-Taking and Treatment Planning:

The initial phase involves a thorough assessment of the client’s history and the identification of target memories for EMDR processing.


Clients are equipped with coping mechanisms and grounding techniques to ensure a safe and supportive therapeutic environment.


The therapist identifies specific aspects of the target memory, including negative beliefs, desired positive beliefs, emotions, and body sensations.


Bilateral stimulation is introduced, facilitating the reprocessing of distressing memories and reducing their emotional charge.


The focus shifts to reinforcing positive beliefs and integrating them into the client’s cognitive framework.

Body Scan:

Clients are encouraged to acknowledge any residual tension or discomfort in the body, further processing these sensations if necessary.


The session concludes with grounding exercises, ensuring the client leaves feeling stable and secure.


Subsequent sessions begin with a reevaluation of previous work, assessing progress and determining the focus of ongoing therapy.

Bilateral Stimulation: Unlocking the Brain’s Potential

Central to EMDR is the concept of bilateral stimulation. This technique involves alternating stimulation of both hemispheres of the brain through eye movements, tapping, or auditory tones. Bilateral stimulation is instrumental in accessing and reprocessing implicit memories, fostering adaptive connections between past traumas and present realities.

Adaptive Information Processing: The Foundation of Healing

EMDR Therapy is grounded in the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model, which posits that the mind’s innate healing capacity can be obstructed by unprocessed memories. EMDR facilitates the assimilation of these memories, enabling individuals to integrate adaptive information and cultivate a renewed sense of self.


Understanding the mechanics of EMDR Therapy illuminates the path to transformative healing. Through its structured phases, innovative bilateral stimulation, and foundation in adaptive information processing, EMDR stands as a beacon of hope for those seeking to overcome mental health challenges and embark on a journey of self-discovery and well-being.

Ready to explore how EMDR Therapy can reshape your narrative and enhance your mental health? Dive deeper into the world of EMDR with us at Wellspring Counselling and stay tuned for more insights in our ongoing series. Book your Free 10-Min Consultation now.

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Wellspring Counselling

Wellspring Counselling

Wellspring Counselling is a team of certified counsellors and psychotherapists based in Greater Vancouver, BC.

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