Glossary of Terms

Adaptive Information Processing (AIP): The basis of the EMDR approach. Based on the brain’s innate adaptive push to achieve emotional well-being. It guides all phases of the approach.

Back to Target: The clinician directs the client to refocus attention on the original memory / incident / experience that was the original focus of processing.

Bilateral Stimulation (BLS): An alternating, side-to-side stimulation (e.g., eye movements, auditory, or tactile) requiring dual attention while the client focuses on elements of the internal experience.

Channels of Association: Elements of the targeted memory network (sensory elements, thoughts, emotions, body sensations, and/or beliefs) that spontaneously emerge while processing the target memory.

Eight Phases: The treatment phases of EMDR Standard Procedures – 1) History, 2) Preparation, 3) Assessment, 4) Desensitization, 5) Installation, 6) Body Scan, 7) Closure, 8) Reevaluation.

EMDR Processing Continuum: Developed by Roy Kiessling

Restricted (aka EMD) – Restricted processing, focusing only on the target (no associated channels) and SUD & VOC, but NO body scan.

Contained (aka EMDr) – 8 Phases/ 3 Prongs, but contained processing (Phase 4) focusing only on target specific channels of association.

Unrestricted (aka EMDR) – Standard 8 Phases and 3-pronged processing that allows free association with associated channels.

Explicit memory: The intentional, conscious, declarative recollection of information and previous experiences. Consists of episodic, semantic, autobiographical and spatial memory

Flash Technique: A new technique developed by Phil Manfield (2017) that is used during Phase Two: Preparation to facilitate processing of rapidly and relatively painlessly reduce the intensity of memories or experiences that clients might otherwise be resistant to access. Standard processing may be initiated once the client is no longer resistant. The intervention may take from 10-45 minutes.

Implicit memory: Unintentional, unconscious, nondeclarative, automatic memory that is accessed through indirect processes. Most of the memories are procedural, “how to” memories.

Negative Cognition: The negative belief the client holds about the self, associated with the maladaptively stored, inadequately processed memory. What words go best with that picture that express your negative belief about yourself now?

Node: The specific memory identified for processing that has a pivotal place in the physiological memory network. 

Original Target: The memory / experience that is activated during Phase 3: Assessment, allowing other relevant memories to emerge from channels of association. 

Positive Cognition: The more adaptive, positive belief the client would like to internalize about the self, associated with the maladaptively stored, inadequately processed memory. When you bring up that picture, what would you like to believe about yourself now? It is along a polar continuum from the negative cognition.

Set: Can be expressed in terms of duration or repetition of the bilateral stimulation (BLS). For resourcing, use slow, short sets (6-8 round trips). For reprocessing, use long, fast sets, starting with 30 seconds or 20+ round trip passes. 

State Change: A temporary shift in emotional state resulting from a change in focus, e.g., breathing exercise to shift from upset to a relaxed state.

Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUD 0-10): A scale used to measure levels of disturbance, where 0 is neutral or no disturbance and 10 is the highest level of disturbance imaginable (Wolpe, 1969). When you put the worst part of the memory together with [NC], on a scale of 0-10, where zero is ‘nothing” or ‘neutral,’ or ‘I can talk about it calmly’ and 10 is the worst you can imagine, how disturbing does it feel right now?

Target: The incident / memory / experience that is the focus of processing.

Three-Pronged Protocol: Past incidents, present triggers, and future anticipated triggers need to be fully processed for comprehensive EMDR treatment effects.

Touchstone Memory: The earliest recalled experience / memory that client identifies as the genesis or foundation of the maladaptively stored memory network

Trait Change: A permanent change in a characteristic response pattern vs. the temporary shift caused by a State Change.

Validity of Cognition (VoC): The measurement of how real or true the positive cognition (belief) fees while the client focuses on the PC and the target memory. It is scaled from 1–7, where 1 feels completely false and 7 feels totally true.