An EMDR therapist will follow an 8 phase protocol that has been developed and fine tuned by Francine Sharpiro to maintain effective standards of practice. The eight specific phases are: history taking, preparation, assessment, desensitization, installation, body scan, closure and re-evaluation. The assessment process will include:
- Problem identification
- Assessment of current functioning
- Historical information including pertinent memories and networks
- Current coping skills and support systems
The therapist will firstly ensure that a client has adequate coping/relaxation strategies to cope with any other memories and/or distressing emotions that may arise between sessions. The process of bilateral stimulation is either achieved visually by tracking eye movements, left to right, or by tactile sensory input (tapping on alternative knees). Some therapists have equipment that can be used for auditory or tactile bilateral stimulation.