What is EMDR?


EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of psychotherapy that provides people with the tool set they needed to heal from emotional distress and symptoms that are the result of disturbing and traumatic life experiences. EMDR has been shown to help with disturbing memories in victims of sexual assault or other violent crimes, victims of disasters, both natural and man-made and those who deal with violence in their everyday work such as first responders.


EMDR is recognized as a treatment of trauma and PTSD. It can reduce the symptoms of fear for people suffering from phobias, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. It can also help to reduce the symptoms of depression caused by disturbing life experiences.


The EMDR Process:


The process begins with the therapist working with the client to identify a specific problem. This will be the focus of the treatment. With guidance from the therapist, the client describes the traumatic incident, focusing on the most important and distressing aspects of that incident. The therapist closely monitors eye movements, interrupting the clients internal process to ensure that he or she is processing in a proper, healthy way.


Using Dual Attention Stimulus (this process was previously called Bilateral Stimulation), which can be visually, auditory or kinetic (touch), the therapist helps to improve the connection between the hemispheres of the brain. This can help to improve the information processing cycle and reduce the emotional “load” for the client.


The therapist is the guide to this process, making clinical decisions along they way about any intervention. The main goal here is to help the client to get to an “adaptive resolution”, which encompasses the following.


  1. a reduction of symptoms
  2. a change in beliefs
  3. the possibility of functioning better in daily life.


EMDR Therapy focuses on 3 primary points:


  • early life experiences
  • experiences in the present that are stressful
  • thoughts and desired behavior in the future.


“The past affects the present even without our being aware of it.”

Francine Shapiro



EMDR Therapy Areas of Focus





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