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What Is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?

Photo by Daniil Kuželev on Unsplash

When I explain what Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is to people, I tend to describe it like this:

EMDR therapy is like doing a brain cleanse. It’s a process that moves along your problematic issues so that you can enjoy improved thinking and feeling. Your own brain does all the work; I facilitate the process.

It was originally studied to be most effective for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other anxiety disorders. However, now we have decades of research that show it is an evidence-based treatment method for much more, such as:

  • Panic attacks
  • Substance abuse/Substance addiction
  • Adverse childhood experiences/childhood trauma
  • Performance anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Chronic illness
  • Chronic pain
  • Medical issues
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Grief and loss
  • Personality disorders
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Sleep disorders
  • Victims of violence and abuse

What Makes EMDR Therapy Different From Other Therapies

One of the many strengths of EMDR therapy is that it does NOT require you talk about all the nitty gritty details of your trauma or other distressing issue. 

Also, there are no homework assignments between sessions. (Most people don’t like or tend to complete their homework assignments anyway.)

EMDR honors the brain’s innate ability to heal itself via a process of bilateral (both sides of your brain) stimulation that can come in the form of alternating eye movements, sounds, or taps (often used as pulsers). The leading theory is that the bilateral stimulation mimics the process of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, a stage of our sleep cycle where memories are filtered to discard or keep.

Another benefit is that for many clients, EMDR therapy results in fewer sessions than traditional talk therapy.

If you have tried traditional therapy and/or psychiatric medications and not found them to be helpful, I encourage you to please give EMDR therapy a chance. I’d be happy to answer any questions or concerns you have and join you on your journey to healing. Contact me today.