The container exercise


The container exercise is another visualization technique. You will use the container to store any memories, images, thoughts, and feelings that you don’t want to take with you home. The container can be anything you want: a bank safe (real) or an imaginary underground base in the Sahara desert. You can imagine storing your thoughts and emotions on a flash drive or a hard drive. You can send them to space or leave them in your therapist’s office.

Sometimes when an EMDR session ends, you may still feel some disturbance related to what you processed. In this case, you want to “store” this disturbance somewhere, until your next therapy session. You don’t want to leave a session and take the disturbance with you. You need to leave it in a place where you can find it next time you go to see your therapist.

With the container exercise, you can create any kind of container you want. Your container can be locked, sealed, put underground, sent to another country or anywhere you feel like putting it. It can be as little or as big as you want it to be.

You can use your container at the end of the session if your level of disturbance (a measure that will be assessed on a 0-10 scale) is above 0. Or you can use it between sessions when you need it.

Rotem Brayer is a certified EMDR therapist and an EMDR consultant in training practicing in Denver, Colorado. He divides his time between helping refugees to improve their mental health and maintaining a private practice.