What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) helps to rapidly resolve trauma associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).    EMDR was developed by Francine Shapiro in 1987, after the observation that eye movements help to reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts, under certain conditions. Today, EMDR incorporates standardized protocols and combines elements of major modalities used in psychotherapy (e.g., psychoanalysis, behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and physiological methods).  EMDR utilizes coping mechanisms associated with what occurs naturally during dreaming or Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. EMDR is a complex therapeutic process utilizing eye movements, sound or pulsations to stimulate both hemispheres of the brain.

What evidence is there that EMDR is a successful treatment?

The validity and reliability of EMDR have been established by rigorous research.  Over 30 randomized controlled studies have investigated the effects of EMDR. For further references, please visit EMDR International Association’s website, www.emdria.org.


What to expect during EMDR?

EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment. EMDR starts with a thorough assessment and development of a treatment plan.  During EMDR, the therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem as the focus of the treatment session.

Eye movements, similar to those during REM sleep, will be recreated simply by asking you to track the therapist’s finger across your visual field; while focusing on the disturbing material. The set of eye movements will last for a short while which will be followed by a brief pause until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with positive thoughts and beliefs about one’s self.

Unlike traditional talk therapy, the insights gained in EMDR are from the client’s own intellectual, cultural and emotional processes; and not by clinical interpretation often leaving the clients to feel empowered.

During EMDR other associated or linked memories may also heal at the same time, leading to a dramatic and rapid improvement in many aspects of your life.

How Long Does EMDR Take?

One or more sessions are required for the therapist to understand the nature of the problem and to decide whether EMDR is an appropriate treatment. Treatment can be very rapid; however, the intensity/complexity of the problem, previous traumas, and life circumstances will determine how many treatment sessions are necessary.


Can anyone benefit from EMDR?

EMDR is not appropriate for everyone. The process is rapid, and a client needs to be willing to experience, the strong feelings and disturbing thoughts that sometimes occur during sessions. Disturbing experiences, if they occur at all, often last for a comparatively short period of time. However, clients need to be aware and prepared to participate if such events occur during a session.


Will I remain in control?

EMDR is not a form of hypnosis, and you will remain in control, fully alert and wide-awake.  You have the power to stop the process at any time. During EMDR the therapist intervenes as little as possible and is there to support and facilitate your self-healing. Reprocessing is often described as happening naturally and spontaneously, as you gain new insights and connections. For this reason, EMDR can be very empowering.


What types of issues is EMDR therapy effective on

Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for post-traumatic stress.  However, clinicians also have reported success using EMDR in the treatment of the following conditions:

  • Panic attacks
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Depression
  • Attachment Disorder
  • Conduct Problems and Self-Esteem
  • Complicated grief
  • Disturbing memories
  • Phobias
  • Pain disorders
  • Performance anxiety
  • Stress reduction
  • Sexual and/or Physical abuse
  • Body dysmorphic disorders
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Chronic Pain
  • Phantom Limb Pain
  • Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms
  • Personality Disorders

Payment:  Sessions can be purchased individually, or ask us about our EMDR bundle rate. Some insurances accepted, please call for more information, (352)365-2243