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So, what exactly is a grief target in EMDR?

In EMDR, unprocessed memories are selected by the therapist and identified as a “target”, or type of memory to be processed. Likewise, when a person is grieving, the disturbance related to this is called a grief target. This allows a therapist to be able to identify associated positive and negative cognitions with this intrusive memory, and work with grief-related cognitions. It allows us to identify a place in the brain that we can work on a specific memory focused on a specific symptom.

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When therapists process these targets, there is a specific symptom associated with the target that we are processing. In EMDR, we use this information to be able to “reprocess” this information to an adaptive resolution, meaning we are able to effectively resolve. Some of the emotions are connected with us in the body through motion. This can leave the patient with a sense of acknowledgment and understanding for the process they are going through in their grieving.

For more information on EMDR Therapy, please visit the resources listed below.


EMDR International Association | EMDRIA.ORG

EMDRIA Article | About EMDR Therapy

Willow Creek Counseling | FAQ page

About the Author: Kathy Couch, LCSW, CT is an EMDRIA-Certified EMDR practitioner and Consultant-in-Training (CIT), and a Board Certified Supervisor with the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses.


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