EMDR therapy has multiple phases and will require a series of sessions with the therapist to cover the entire course of treatment. You will begin by doing several sessions for assessment and preparation for treatment. You will discuss your trauma history and treatment goals with the therapist, as well as any specific issues or traumatic memories you want to address.
As you get closer to starting EMDR treatment sessions, you will also decide what physical triggers to address like sounds, types of touch, smells, or sights that can cause you to re-experience the intense arousal, trauma, and/or anxiety from the past.
You will also learn techniques to manage intense emotions that arise when encountering a trigger or reliving a traumatic event like deep breathing and mindfulness.
Once you begin treatment sessions, your therapist will have you talk about the traumas and memories you have decided to treat while directing your eye movements back and forth. This will be repeated until your therapist stops and asks you to let your mind go blank and share any thoughts that arise.
You may go through multiple memories or triggers in each session, but if at any point, the sensations you experience are overwhelming or too distressing, you will stop and decompress, either taking a break before restarting or ending the session.
Once you complete the course of treatment, you will do an evaluation with your therapist to see where you are at, how well the treatment worked, and where you can go from there.