History-taking identifies the clinical picture before treating the client.
The therapist obtains a detailed client history to assess the suitability for EMDR processing and to evaluate the client’s psychological needs during and between sessions. The client may experience discomfort between sessions as the processing often continues after the therapy session ends. The client must be able to handle the emotions associated with the continued processing associated with the target memory and the potential new insights.
Once the clinical assessment is done, the therapist and the client identify the client’s target memories with as specifically as possible.
To inform treatment planning, clinicians assesses:
What are the dysfunctional behaviours, emotions, and negative cognitions, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, and reckless behaviours? What are the current triggers and what are their frequency, locations, and other details?
How long has it been going on? How has it evolved over time?
3. Initial cause.
When did it start? When was it the most intense? When was it the most disturbing? What are or were the related social or family factors?
4. Other occurrences.
What are your 10 most disturbing memories? This will help identify the patterns of negative cognitions and experiences to address.
Any other events have been contributed to the way the client feels? Who else was involved?
What are your 10 most positive memories? This helps identify positive resources.
5. Other complaints.
This can help to identify other challenges the client may have that are obscured by the main challenge to include in the treatment plan.
6. Current constraints.
How is the client currently affected? What dysfunctional emotions or behaviours are elicited? What actions is the client unable to take?
7. Desired state.
How does the client want to feel, think, and act? What is preventing from it to happen?
How would the client know the treatment is successful? What would change in her life?
Check the infographic for a visual representation of the 8 phases.