What is EMDR Therapy?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, commonly known as EMDR, is a phased, focused approach to treating trauma and other symptoms by reconnecting the traumatized person in a safe and measured way to the images, self-thoughts, emotions, and body sensations associated with the trauma, and allowing the natural healing powers of the brain to move toward adaptive resolution.

It is based on the idea that symptoms occur when trauma and other negative or challenging experiences overwhelm the brain’s natural ability to heal, and that the healing process can be facilitated and completed through bilateral stimulation while the client is re-experiencing the trauma in the context of the safe environment of the therapist’s office (dual awareness).

Who needs to have EMDR Therapy?

EMDR can help people with a wide range of mental health conditions. Adolescents, teenagers and adults of all ages can benefit from this treatment. 

What are the benefits?

EMDR can be helpful to people in therapy in a number of ways. It can help reduce symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety, as well as improving sleep, concentration, and quality of life. It can also help reduce fear and improve insight into traumatic memories, enabling people to process and make sense of their experiences. Additionally, EMDR can help people to develop healthier coping strategies and become more self aware. Finally, EMDR can help people to build resilience, developing the skills necessary to cope with stress and adversity.


How effective is it?

You might feel a little skeptical of the idea that making eye movements when thinking about a traumatic experience can somehow help ease painful memories.

While experts aren’t entirely certain exactly why the approach works, it’s effective because recalling distressing events may feel less emotionally upsetting when you aren’t giving those memories your full attention.

To put it another way, the bilateral stimulation (BLS) used in EMDR gives you something to focus on as you access painful memories and unwanted thoughts.

This helps dim the intensity of your memory, allowing you space to process it without an overwhelming psychological response.