What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is described by Psychology Today (2019) as a:

…unique, nontraditional form of psychotherapy designed to diminish negative feelings associated with memories of traumatic events. Unlike most forms of talk therapy, EMDR focuses less on the traumatic event itself and more on the disturbing emotions and symptoms that result from the event.


How does EMDR work?

So, we don’t know exactly how or why EMDR works. We just know it does from extensive research. EMDRIA details the process of EMDR as the:

…client calls to mind the disturbing issue or event in detail, and what thoughts and beliefs are currently held about that event. The therapist facilitates the directional movement of the eyes...while the client focuses on the disturbing material, and the client just notices whatever comes to mind...sets of eye movements are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with positive thoughts and beliefs...

The video below is a great explanation of EMDR!


How can EMDR make me feel better?

Research has proven EMDR to be an effective treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, it has been found that EMDR is helpful in managing the symptoms of a variety of issues, such as: anxiety, panic attacks, complicated grief, and stress reduction.


How do I know if EMDR is right for me?

As is the case for traditional psychotherapy, the first 1-3 sessions will determine if the therapist and client are a good fit, but also if the client is a good fit for EMDR therapy. In addition, this time is an opportunity for the therapist to talk more in-depth about the EMDR process and what to expect, as well as answer any questions from the client.