Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy


     EMDR was developed during the late 1980’s as a method for late-stage trauma resolution.  This therapeutic modality has undergone more scientific research as a treatment for trauma than any other non-pharmaceutical intervention.  Based on empirical evidence as well as thousands of client testimonials, EMDR has proven to be a useful and rapid way to reprocess traumatic material.

     This technique appears to help  in the processing of traumatic information by using bilateral hemispheric (right/left) brain integration, helping the individual to reprocess the trauma and integrate the trauma material in a more adaptive manner.  In other words, by moving trauma memories from one part of the brain to the other, the mind and body can finally be convinced that the traumatic event is indeed over.  EMDR helps to put the past in the past, where it belongs, instead of staying stuck in it (feeling like it is happening all over again in the present—with the identical thoughts, emotions, and body sensations—that accompanied the event in the past.)  EMDR can be used with large trauma events, (car accidents, situations where physical safety is compromised) or with small traumas (social anxiety, phobias, or work stresses). 

     EMDR is done in four stages:

  1.  Establishment of safety
  2. Activating the traumatic memory network
  3. Adding bilateral stimulation in the form of eye movements, buzzing your hands with a theratapper, adding alternating auditory tones or alternative tapping.
  4. Reestablishment of safety.

     EMDR can be a brief therapy, one or two sessions, or it can be done alone or in addition to other therapeutic techniques over the course of weeks or months.   This is based upon yourindividual situation and the work that needs to be done. The 4 stages of EMDR can also be moved through quickly or very slowly depending upon your situation, your desire to address the traumas, and your readiness for trauma work.  Each situation is individual and each individual’s comfort level is paramount.   You will work with your therapist to determine what is best for your particular situation.  We will discuss all of these issues specifically before beginning any trauma work. 

EMDR Consent Form

EMDR consent form (pdf)