What is EMDR?

What is EMDR Therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an extensively researched, effective psychotherapy method proven to help people recover from trauma and other distressing life experiences, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and panic disorders.

How is EMDR therapy different

from other therapies? 

EMDR therapy does not require talking in detail about the distressing issue or completing homework between sessions. EMDR therapy, rather than focusing on changing the emotions, thoughts, or behaviors resulting from the distressing issue, allows the brain to resume its natural healing process.

EMDR therapy is designed to resolve unprocessed traumatic memories in the brain. For many clients, EMDR therapy can be completed in fewer sessions than other psychotherapies.

How does EMDR therapy affect the brain?

Our brains have a natural way to recover from traumatic memories and events. This process involves communication between the amygdala (the alarm signal for stressful events), the hippocampus (which assists with learning, including memories about safety and danger), and the prefrontal cortex (which analyzes and controls behavior and emotion). While many times traumatic experiences can be managed and resolved spontaneously, they may not be processed without help.

Stress responses are part of our natural fight, flight, or freeze instincts. When distress from a disturbing event remains, the upsetting images, thoughts, and emotions may create feelings of overwhelm, of being back in that moment, or of being “frozen in time.” EMDR therapy helps the brain process these memories, and allows normal healing to resume. The experience is still remembered, but the fight, flight, or freeze response from the original event is resolved.”

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

  • PTSD and other trauma and stress-related issues

  • Sexual assault

  • Sleep disturbance

  • Substance abuse and addiction

  • Violence and abuse

Can EMDR therapy be done without a trained EMDR therapist?

EMDR therapy is a mental health intervention. As such, it should only be offered by properly trained and licensed mental health clinicians. EMDRIA does not condone or support indiscriminate uses of EMDR therapy such as "do-it-yourself" virtual therapy. 

EMDR and PTSD

Anyone can experience intense trauma. EMDR is widely considered one of the best treatments for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Treatment Guidelines

EMDR therapy is listed as a treatment for PTSD and other trauma and stressor disorders by the following organizations. These treatment guidelines are based on reviews that evaluate research of established evidence-based mental health treatments.

Endorsements

Research has shown that EMDR can be an efficient and rapid treatment. EMDR is also found effective by:

  • United Kingdom Department of Health

  • Dutch National Steering Committee for Health Care

  • Israeli National Council for Mental Health

  • Many other international health and governmental agencies

( Taken from https://www.emdria.org/about-emdr-therapy/)