EMDR® - What is it?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR®) is a style of therapy that was developed to help people recover from disturbing, life-changing events in their past. These events may involve anything from car accidents and being bullied, to abuse or violence in the client's family. Experiencing and remembering these events can affect a person's mood, relationships, confidence, and overall self-worth.

While many people have developed general coping skills for most of life's stressors, sometimes these are not enough when an event is chronic, sudden, or intense. In these times, the memory can become frozen in the brain and in the body with long-lasting consequences.

Recalling these disturbing events may feel as intense as the first time it was experienced. These memories can have a negative effect and interfere with the way a person sees the world and the manner in which they relate to it.

How does it work?

The focus of EMDR® is on reprocessing these memories and healing from the traumatic events. Using standard interventions, the client is asked to recall those visual and physiological memories while the clinician is stimulating the brain using directional movement of the eyes or other dual attention of the brain (bi-lateral stimulation). Like any healing process, this can be intense for the client as the brain is working to more effectively reprocess the information and heal. Clients can be assured that their clinician will work closely with them as they work through the process together. Studies have consistently shown EMDR® to effectively decrease and/or eliminate symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, grief, dissociative disorders, pain disorders, eating disorders, stress, addiction, sexual/physical abuse, and personality disorders.

Things to consider

The number of sessions needed is determined by the extent of the trauma and the age of the client. Young children have less memory to work with and, therefore, EMDR® therapy typically advances faster for them. EMDR® can resolve single-incident traumas in a shorter amount of time. Due to the intensity of EMDR® therapy and the issues being addressed, clients will be provided with consistent, weekly appointments until they feel stabilized and/or the disturbing memories are resolved. With EMDR®, the client's brain is doing all the work to heal itself, with the support and guidance of the therapist.