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what is eye movement 

desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)?

*Courtesy of EMDR International Association

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:

  • Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias
  • Chronic Illness and medical issues
  • Depression and bipolar disorders
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Grief and loss
  • Pain
  • Performance anxiety
  • Personality disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other trauma and stress-related issues
  • Sexual assault
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • Violence and abuse
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 perspective.

Q & A 

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

your problems.

• Frequently, EMDR is only one of several treatment approaches that will be used to help you reach your treatment goals.

To learn more about EMDR, please visit the EMDRIA website at:


​Beneath the surface of the protective parts of trauma survivors there exists an undamaged essence, a Self that is confident, curious, and calm, a Self that has been sheltered from destruction by the various protectors that have emerged in their efforts to ensure survival. Once these protectors trust that it is safe to separate, the Self with spontaneously emerge, and the parts can be enlisted in the healing process." - Bessel Van Der Kolk 

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