Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) relies on a client's own rapid, rhythmic eye movements, and is founded on the belief that these eye movements can weaken the intensity of emotionally charged memories. EMDR is most often used to treat PTSD or other traumas, but is also sometimes used for panic attacks, eating disorders, addictions, and anxiety. EMDR sessions can last up to 90 minutes, and usually starts with a client rating their level of distress. A therapist then typically moves their fingers in front of your face (or sometimes toe tapping or musical tones), asking you to follow along with your eyes, while you recall a traumatic event and all the sensations that come with it. You will gradually be guided by the therapist to shift thoughts from the traumatic experience to a more comforting one. The goal of EMDR is to make disturbing memories less immobilizing. Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s EMDR specialists today.

Meet the specialists

I provide EMDR for clients experiencing, not just trauma, but also, low self esteem, anxiety, ADHD, depression and many other struggles. For those who have engaged in EMDR therapy, they say it's hard work, and very worth it in the end.

— Julie Reichenberger, Counselor in Denver, CO

EMDR is a unique, somatic form of psychotherapy designed to diminish negative feelings and sensations associated with memories of traumatic events. Unlike most forms of talk therapy, EMDR focuses less on the traumatic event itself and more on the disturbing emotions and symptoms that result from the event. I have completed Level 1 & 2 training and I am in process of working towards certification through EMDRIA.

— Sandi Bohle, Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern in Pasadena, CA

I use a modality called Eye Movement Desensitization Therapy (EMDR). EMDR is an effective, evidenced-based tool used to address the trauma symptoms that are a barrier to healthy relationships, work/life balance, and even tasks of daily life. Additionally, I use EMDR to enhance client skills and strengths. This technique can also be used to address symptoms related to a myriad of other issues.

— Alison "Ali" Pierucci, Therapist in Denver, CO

EMDR combines different elements to maximize treatment effects. EMDR involves attention to three time periods: the past, present, and future. Focus is given to past disturbing memories and related events and to current situations that cause distress, and to developing the skills and attitudes needed for positive future actions. With EMDR therapy, these items are addressed using an eight-phase treatment approach. It provides healing and the ability to get past areas where you feel stuck.

— Karissa Roy, Counselor in Austin, TX

EMDR has been proven to be helpful in many different types of cases to help free you from the negative emotions and belief that have held you captive for some times many many years. The brain has a natural capacity to heal and using EMDR stimulates the self-healing process to allow memories that have been stuck to integrate and no longer be triggered.

— Jessica Stebbins, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Merritt Island, FL

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a fairly new, nontraditional type of psychotherapy. EMDR is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. This technique has been very successful in helping people who suffer from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, post traumatic stress and many other emotional problems.

— Livewell Behavioral Health, Marriage & Family Therapist in Fresno, CA

I am fully trained in EMDR via EMDRIA-approved training, and have successfully facilitated EMDR through telehealth. I also have specialized training in the safe, effective delivery of EMDR online.

— Heather Moller, Clinical Social Worker in Pensacola, FL

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is pretty much a misnomer nowadays; few people do anything with the eyes. The tool is Bilateral Stimulation. The process is complex and simple both. It is scientific as hell and deeply spiritual. It is the most rapid way of resolving the most complex of traumatic wounds. It is a powerful tool and knowing when it's time to use it is very, very important.

— Eli Hastings, Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, WA

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of distressing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. EMDR utilizes bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements or alternate tapping, to help clients reprocess difficult experiences in a physiological way.

— Elisabeth Pollack, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles, CA

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an interactive psychotherapy technique used to relieve psychological stress. During an EMDR therapy session, we will work to desensitizes and reintegrate traumatic or triggering experiences in brief doses with bilateral dual stimulation. EMDR is an evidence-based practice proven to resolve PTSD and symptoms related to trauma exposure. EMDR provides relief and skills for overcoming trauma and the impact of future stressful events.

— Lauren Northrup, Counselor in Boulder, CO

I practice somatic and attachment focused EMDR. EMDR therapy is founded on the basis that trauma interferes with our brain’s processing.This incorrect processing that lead to past memories feeling very present. The Bain experiences current related events as if the were the past disturbing event. Processing the original event will eliminate these trigger reactions.

— Paula Kirsch, Clinical Social Worker in Detroit, MI

EMDR is a treatment that enables emotional healing from disturbing life experiences. I was trained in EMDR in 2014.

— Lisa Taylor, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Northfield, MN

EMDR is a treatment that helps complex trauma (long term) and single incident traumas (one time event) that are stored in the body or emotional memory network to become “unstuck” in your brain and body. EMDR utilizes bilateral stimulation, through rapid eye movements, tapping, or bilateral sounds to bring forth blocked memories to be reprocessed. EMDR helps in getting negative beliefs held about oneself unstuck from the brain. There's no wrong way to do EMDR. All you need is an interest in it.

— Janet Bayramyan, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Valley Village, CA

In 2019, I continued my training in treatment for trauma and stressors through completion of EMDR training under Karen Alter-Reid, Ph.D. at National Institute for the Psychotherapies, and I am currently working on certification.

— Amy Emery, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Southington, CT

I am a EMDR trained practicioner by EMDRIA. When practitioners come in contact with someone who has experienced trauma, they often think of me. EMDR is an evidence-based modality that is used by veterans’ hospitals, trauma treatment centers, and thousands of therapists around the world. Trauma can encompass not only the commonly associated events of combat, accidents, injury, death of a loved one, sexual assault or other forms of violence. I am here to offer tools to manage the trauma.

— Djuan Short, Clinical Social Worker in Philadelphia, PA

EMDR seems to help the brain reprocess the trapped memories is such a way that normal information processing is resumed. Therapists often use EMDR to help clients uncover and process beliefs that developed as the result relational traumas or childhood abuse and/or neglect. This method allows the individual to process the trauma without having to disclose all of the details of the traumatic events. This is a highly effective treatment that provides relief for most individuals.

— Nichole Bosserman, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Washington, IL

Since being trained in EMDR I have seen clients gain freedom from unwanted emotional and physiological responses. I heard someone describe EMDR this way, “I have all these files in my brain; the spouse file, friend file, career file. I don’t know where to slot my traumas so they have pieces in every file. After EMDR they now have their own file and I can access them when I want to or just let them stay in the file. My trauma no longer defines me.”

— Aimee Grimm, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Montrose, CA

Eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative approach to psychotherapy that has been extensively researched since it’s emergence. It was originally created to alleviate the distress associated with the effects of traumatic events, and over the years, has been found to be helpful with many other mental health concerns. EMDR assists individuals in accessing the trauma memories and then processing them in a way that leads to an adaptive resolution.

— Despina Costandinidis, Counselor in Dayton, OH

EMDR is becoming widely used to treat trauma. This method helps the body reveal what has long since been hidden from our consciousness related to past trauma or painful events. This can keep us feeling stuck, anxious & depressed in a every day. Chronic overwhelming feelings often indicate the body is working hard to manage outward stress/experiences while managing inward fears from the past. It is possible to feel more safe & at ease in your body as well as move forward in your life.

— Kathleen Thompson, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR