What is EMDR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization
and Reprocessing), as with most therapy
approaches, focuses on the individual’s
present concerns. The EMDR approach
believes past emotionally-charged
experiences are overly influencing your
present emotions, sensations, and
thoughts about yourself. As an
example: “Do you ever feel worthless
although you know you are a
worthwhile person?”
EMDR processing helps you break
through the emotional blocks that are
keeping you from living an adaptive,
emotionally healthy life.
EMDR uses rapid sets of eye
movements to help you update
disturbing experiences, much like what
occurs when we sleep. During sleep,
we alternate between regular sleep and
REM (rapid eye movement). This sleep
pattern helps you process things that
are troubling you.
EMDR replicates this sleep pattern by
alternating between sets of eye
movements and brief reports about
what you are noticing. This alternating
process helps you update your
memories to a healthier present

What is different about EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing...

EMDR uses a set of procedures to organize your negative and positive feelings, emotions, and thoughts, and then uses bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements or alternating tapping, as the way to help you effectively work through those disturbing memories.

EMDR focuses on the brain’s ability to constantly learn, taking
past experiences, and updating them with present information.

Adaptive learning is constantly updating memory network systems.
Past emotionally-charged experiences often interfere withyour updating process.
EMDR breaks through that interference and helps let go of the past and update your
experiences to a healthier present perspective.

What does an EMDR session look like?


You have come to treatment expressing concerns.

Your therapist will help you understand the dynamics of 
the presenting concerns and how to adaptively manage    

An overall treatment plan will be developed that will    
accomplish your goals.

Within that treatment plan, EMDR, along with other therapy approaches, will be used to accomplish your  treatment goals.


You will be asked a set of questions to access and activate the negative experience and the desired adaptive resolution.

Sets of rapid eye movement (or other forms of bilateral stimulation) will be applied. You will be encouraged to just “free associate” and allow the brain to work through the experience.

Sets of eye movements will be alternated with brief reports about what you are experiencing.

EMDR processing will continue until the past experience has been updated to an adaptive present perspective.

With long standing issues, this process may take multiple sessions.


Once the disturbing experiences have been updated, you and your therapist will work together to integrate these new insights and perspectives into your daily life.


Is it necessary to tell my therapist all
the details about my problems in order
for them to be processed?

No, it is not necessary to talk about all
the details of your experiences for
them to be processed.

Will I get emotional?

Yes, you may. Emotions and sensations may come up during processing; although, you will be prepared and your therapist will help you safely manage them. Once they are processed, they rarely come back!

Is EMDR like hypnosis?

No. During EMDR processing, you are present and fully in control.

Is EMDR a brief treatment?

EMDR, as with all treatment approaches, will help you accomplish your treatment goals.
The length of time that it takes is dependent upon the complexity of our problems.
Frequently, EMDR is only one of several treatment approaches that will be used to help you reach your treatment goals.

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