EMDR Therapy

What is EMDR Therapy

EMDR is an eight phase treatment that is effective in treating anxiety depression emotional and physical abuse, complicated grief, performance anxiety, addiction and dissociative disorders and PTSD. EMDR was developed in the 1980’s by Francine Shapiro.  It is now the most researched treatment for PTSD.


How Does it Work

When we have an experience that disturbs us, the experience can get locked into our nervous system with the original picture sounds, thoughts and feelings.  Since the event or experience gets stuck there it can get triggered any time a reminder comes up. This can cause a great number of negative feelings that we don’t feel are under our control. The information and our ability to resolve these feelings are in another part of our brain, but unable to link to the place where the disturbing experience and feelings are.

Through the processing that occurs in EMDR, the disturbing memory and feelings become linked up with the part of our brain that can resolve the disturbing memory and feelings.  The EMDR method unlocks the nervous system and allows you to process the experience.  We use what we call dual attention stimulation, or DAS to process the experience.  Dual Attention is stimulated through eye movements, or tapping or sound.

It is important to remember that it is your brain that is doing the healing and that you are the one in control


What is an EMDR session like?

In a typical EMDR session, after laying initial ground work, the client will bring up a memory that he/she would like to work on.

The therapist will then ask the client a series of questions to identify thoughts, feelings, and body sensations in order to open up the memory network. Then we will do sets of DAS to process the disturbing memory.  The client is told to simply allow whatever happens to happen without censoring it .  It’s a free association between mind and body.  The therapist will periodically stop the DAS to ask the client what they are noticing.  The client is asked to report about his/her experience so that good choices can be made by the therapist to guide the process.  The therapist and client will go back and forth between DAS and the client reports of what he/she is noticing until the memory and related feelings are no longer disturbing.  The client can stop the process at any time.

When processing is complete, the client is led through an exercise to incorporate the new and more adaptive thoughts and feelings.


For more information about EMDR Therapy, please visit emdr.com

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