What is EMDR Therapy and How Can I Benefit?

Sandra Lukashevich, LCPC
Sandra Lukashevich, LCPC
March 1, 2023
What is EMDR Therapy and How Can I Benefit?

What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an extensively researched, effective psychotherapy that provides healing and hope to people recovering from adverse life experiences. This powerful psychotherapy approach has helped over an estimated two million people of all ages relieve many types of psychological distress. It consists of eight (8) various phases of treatment that systematically address present, past and future fears and goals.

The goal of EMDR Therapy is to completely “process” past traumatic events that are causing symptoms in a person’s current life. “Processing” does not mean just talking about negative memories or identifying ways to minimize the related symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and feelings of unworthiness. It means tapping into your own brain’s mechanisms for learning and allowing these past experiences to be “digested” and stored appropriately in your memory network. New associations can be forged between the traumatic memory and more adaptive information. This often results in increased insight regarding the previously disturbing events and long-held negative thoughts about the self.

How Does EMDR Work?

EMDR Therapy is employed by therapists specifically trained in this treatment. During EMDR Therapy, the therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem as the focus of the treatment session. The client calls to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, felt, heard, thought, etc., and what thoughts and beliefs are currently held about that event. The therapist facilitates the directional movement of the eyes or other dual attention stimulation of the brain, while the client focuses on the disturbing material, and the client just notices whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control direction of context. Each person will process information uniquely, based on personal experiences and values. Sets of eye movements are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with positive thoughts and beliefs about one’s self. During EMDR Therapy, the client may experience intense emotions, but by the end of the session, most people report a great reduction in the level of disturbance.

Who Can Benefit from EMDR Therapy?

EMDR Therapy helps children and adults of all ages. Therapists use EMDR Therapy to address a wide range of challenges including, but not limited to:

  • PTSD
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Attachment disorders
  • Addiction
  • Grief
  • Performance anxiety
  • Trauma and adverse events

​EMDR Therapists utilize various forms of dual attention stimuli, such as:

  • Bilateral eye movements
  • Physical tapping or auditory tones in a set of headphones
  • Thera-tappers
  • Light bars
  • Impromptu objects in the room (i.e., a pen, foam ball, etc.)

If you are interested in learning more about EMDR and how it may benefit you or a loved one, contact our office for more information.

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