EMDR exercises and activities

Posted by Tim Tarks on March 21st, 2023

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy approach that is used to help individuals process traumatic experiences. Here are some EMDR exercises that you can use with clients:

  1. Resource Development and Installation: This exercise involves identifying and enhancing the positive resources that a client already possesses, such as self-soothing skills, strengths, or positive memories. The therapist helps the client to activate these resources while also connecting them to the targeted traumatic experience.
  2. Safe Place Visualization: This exercise involves guiding the client to visualize a safe and comfortable place where they can go to in their minds to feel calm and safe. The therapist helps the client to fully immerse themselves in the experience of the safe place, using sensory details, and encourages them to return to the safe place whenever they feel triggered.
  3. Bilateral Stimulation: This exercise involves using bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements or tapping, to help the client access and process traumatic memories. The therapist asks the client to focus on the traumatic memory while engaging in the bilateral stimulation to help reduce the intensity of the distressing emotions.
  4. The Container Exercise: This exercise involves asking the client to imagine a container where they can temporarily store difficult thoughts, feelings, or memories until they feel safe enough to process them. The therapist helps the client visualize the container and use imagery to feel the sense of security and containment.
  5. Future Template: This exercise involves guiding the client to visualize a positive and empowering future for themselves, while incorporating insights from the traumatic experience. The therapist helps the client to explore how they can use their strengths and resources to achieve their goals and overcome any obstacles.

These exercises can be adapted to suit the specific needs and goals of individual clients, and can be used in combination with other therapeutic approaches. It is important to note that EMDR should be conducted by a licensed therapist who has received specialized training in this approach. You can use EMDR PDF worksheets to help you with activities for your clients.

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Tim Tarks

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Tim Tarks
Joined: October 15th, 2019
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