EMDR Therapy

What is EMDR Therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy is an evidence-based treatment that supports clients to reprocess trauma and other distressing experiences, liberating them from the lingering effects of a nervous system on high alert. Although originally developed to treat trauma and PTSD, EMDR is now used for a wide variety of mental health issues.

The benefits of EMDR Therapy can include:

  • Reduced stress and reactivity
  • Relief from getting “triggered,” intrusive thoughts, vigilance, and panic
  • Relief from anxiety and depression
  • Increased self-esteem and self-worth
  • Improved relationships, greater capacity to trust others
  • Increased capacity to regulate emotions and face challenges
  • Feeling safer and more present
  • Improved physical health

What is trauma?

Everyone has experienced some kind of trauma. We all recognize “Big T” trauma (such as accidents and violence). But, broadly defined, trauma encompasses any experience or chronic circumstance that is overwhelming enough to leave our nervous systems reactive and “stuck in the past.”

Under normal, non-threatening circumstances, our brains process and store experiences in adaptive memory networks, so that we can make sense of and learn from experience. These networks are foundational to learning, self-esteem, emotional regulation, and attachment security.

In a state of overwhelm and fear, however, we are unable to make sense of and adaptively store information in our brains. Thus, traumatic memories are often frightening, fragmented, or foggy. Unprocessed trauma memories leave our nervous system activated such that we experience and react to present day experiences as if we are back in the traumatic event.

How does EMDR therapy work?

When we experience trauma, whether a single incident or conditions of chronic fear or stress, our nervous system is in survival mode. This state of overwhelm interferes with normal information processing, leaving the memory unprocessed. EMDR clients are supported to safely reprocess these events.

EMDR therapists prepare clients for this work by ensuring that the client has the support and coping skills to tolerate revisiting and reprocessing difficult memories. That being said, EMDR Therapy does not require clients to narrate traumatic events in detail.

Reprocessing is facilitated by Bilateral Stimulation (BLS): engaging both sides of the brain through eye movement, tapping, or audible tones on alternating sides of the body. Revisiting distressing memories while BLS is administered desensitizes the memory and causes adaptive changes in the brain. Once the memory is adaptively processed, clients are no longer “hijacked” by reminders or memories of the original event. This allows them to feel more present and at peace.

In addition to being used to desensitize clients to negative experiences, EMDR Therapy is also used to strengthen positive experiences, building confidence, self-esteem, and resilience going forward.

EMDR

Is EMDR therapy right for me?

Although originally developed to treat trauma and PTSD, EMDR Therapy is now recognized as one of the most efficient and effective treatments for a wide range of distressing experiences and mental health concerns. Therefore, almost any client can benefit from EMDR.

EMDR Therapy is used to treat:

  • Anxiety and Panic
  • Depression
  • Grief
  • Relationship issues
  • Trauma and PTSD
  • Anger and reactivity
  • Other issues

We can talk about whether EMDR is right for you during your free consultation, your initial appointment, or during the course of therapy. EMDR Therapy can be conducted during in-person or virtual sessions.

In-Person Therapy & Virtual Therapy

In-Person Therapy & Virtual Therapy