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Courtesy of EMDR International Association

What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR is a psychotherapy technique developed by psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s. It operates on the principle that traumatic experiences can disrupt the brain’s natural information processing abilities, leading to the persistence of distressing symptoms. EMDR aims to restore this natural healing process by facilitating the reprocessing of traumatic memories and integrating them into one’s personal narrative.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from different treatment approaches.

How does EMDR work?

EMDR therapy is an integrative psychotherapy and uses a technique called bilateral stimulation to repeatedly activate opposite sides of the brain. The therapist guides the client through specific eye movements, sounds, or taps, which are designed to stimulate bilateral brain activity. This bilateral stimulation, often involving eye movements, helps facilitate the processing and integration of traumatic memories, reducing the emotional and physiological distress associated with them.  These eye movements mimic the period of sleep referred to as rapid eye movement or REM sleep, and this portion of sleep is frequently considered to be the time when the mind processes the recent events in the person’s life.

EMDR seems to help the brain reprocess the trapped memories is such a way that normal information processing is resumed. Therapists often use EMDR to help clients uncover and process beliefs that developed as the result of relational traumas, or childhood abuse and/or neglect. For a more detailed explanation please visit EMDR Institute, Inc.

What does EMDR help?

EMDR had been originally established as helpful for PTSD, although it’s been proven useful for treatment in the following conditions:


Benefits of EMDR:

1. Alleviating Anxiety: EMDR has shown promising results in reducing anxiety symptoms. By reprocessing distressing memories, it enables individuals to gain a new perspective, diminishes the power of triggers, and helps them develop effective coping mechanisms.
2. Overcoming Depression: EMDR can be effective in treating depression, particularly when it is related to past traumatic experiences. By targeting the root causes of depression, it allows individuals to release negative emotions, challenge self-defeating beliefs, and find renewed hope and motivation.
3. Healing Trauma: EMDR is widely recognized as an effective treatment for trauma. It can assist individuals in reprocessing traumatic memories, reducing the intensity of flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts. As the traumatic experience is integrated into one’s life story, it becomes less distressing, fostering healing and resilience.
4. Treating PTSD: EMDR is an evidence-based therapy recommended for individuals diagnosed with PTSD. It helps individuals process traumatic memories, reduce hyperarousal, and alleviate distressing symptoms such as nightmares, hypervigilance, and emotional numbing. EMDR also focuses on fostering a sense of safety and empowerment.
5. Speed and Efficiency: Compared to traditional talk therapies, EMDR often yields faster results. The focused nature of the therapy allows individuals to experience relief in a shorter timeframe, although the duration of treatment may vary depending on the complexity of the issues being addressed.


EMDR is a powerful therapeutic approach that offers hope and healing to those struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, and PTSD. Through its unique techniques, EMDR promotes the reprocessing and integration of traumatic memories, enabling individuals to experience reduced distress, increased resilience, and improved overall well-being. If you or someone you know is battling these challenges, EMDR may be a valuable avenue to explore on the path to recovery. Remember, seeking professional guidance is essential to embark on this transformative journey towards healing.

None of the above symptoms or experiences fit you?

Do you experience distressing emotions that appear to you, and perhaps to others, to be excessive given the current situation? Do you tend to be highly reactive to certain triggers? Is there one or more dysfunctional belief that you believe about yourself that on an intellectual level you know is not true?

If so, you may still be a good candidate for EMDR therapy.

Contact me today for a free phone consultation to see if EMDR might help you release what no longer serves you.
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