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

EMDR is a good option for someone seeking relief from pervasive trauma symptoms including intrusive thoughts, negative changes in overall world view after a traumatic event (eg "people can't be trusted" as a broad, general statement), hypervigilance, and other trauma symptoms. EMDR uses Bilateral Stimulation to manually stimulate your mind's natural process to adaptively store new information when a memory sensitized and inadequately stored or processed.

— Christopher Brace, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Las Vegas, NV

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) can be a gift for those affected by trauma. It is an evidence based approach designed to address past, or even more recent, trauma that is affecting your ability to function at work, school and in relationships. It can also be used to address anxiety and depression.

— Jennifer Durbin, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Fullerton, CA

I began my training in EMDR in 2011, and with years of consultation over the last decade, I have assisted hundreds of individuals release themselves from memories that they felt stuck in. When you experience something that is traumatic, sometimes you experience the event over and over has if it is happening right now. EMDR moves the disturbing or traumatic memory from the part of the brain that processes the "present" to a part of the brain that processes the "past".

— Julius Peterson, Clinical Social Worker in Decatur, GA

EMDR is a bodymind process of moving what is stuck in the brain into normal adaptive functioning. For appropriate clients, it can work faster than talk therapy and work at a deeper level. This paves the way for other therapies like CBT to work with less resistance.

— SHANE HENNESEY, Licensed Professional Counselor in Richmond, TX

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing 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 therapy is an eight-phase treatment. Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during one part of the session. -EMDR Institute

— Jules Allison, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Portland, OR

I am trained in EMDR and utilize this technique, at least in part, with almost every client I work with. EMDR can offer a non-verbal way to process through through trauma, anxiety, depression, physical pain, and many other mental health concerns. EMDR is unique in that you are able to make quick and sustainable change without having to verbally discuss uncomfortable thoughts or memories.

— Nicole Hall, Creative Art Therapist in Rochester, NY

EMDR is used to help process past traumatic memories so they’ll have less of an impact on your present day. With this model, you do not have to share all the details of the trauma. We will work together to allow your body to create the healing it’s designed to do. We’ll use eye movements or tapping to promote the healing. There are 8 total phases. I have been trained in an approach that also incorporates somatic techniques and attachment theory.

— April Hankins, Licensed Professional Counselor in Exton, PA

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is so hard to explain, but it can really help us work through things that feel stuck in our heads, like trauma. Since all of my work is online, I use online tools to help me use EMDR with my clients, but that doesn't impact the power of EMDR. I've been fully trained on both parts of EMDR. I'm also working towards being certified in EMDR, which is above and beyond simply being trained.

— Danielle Wayne, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Boise, ID

EMDR therapy provides a framework for safely and effectively diminishing the emotional and behavioral impact of traumatic events. We work with you to build your inner resources to address the traumatic material. Once these inner resources are established, we provide a therapeutic structure for you to process the hurt, fear, anger, or sadness and integrate more helpful ways of thinking about the past.

— Julianna Taillon, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Fullerton, CA

I am a trauma specialist focusing on healing the body through somatic techniques and inner child healing, Mindfulness Self Compassion. EMDR is the highly evidence-based technique for treating trauma, PTSD, and anxiety-related issues. My focus is to support you to feel safe as possible, teaching you self-soothing and resourcing skills. It is not going to be exposure therapy because we dont start EMDR until after creating your strong skills in resourcing and safety

— Linda Fong, Clinical Social Worker in Berkeley, CA

Trauma-Informed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) guides you through an interactive psychotherapy involving eight-phase processing. People with traumatic experiences or who have PTSD in particular can benefit from EMDR treatment.

— Hyon Bachman, Licensed Professional Counselor in Newport News, VA

I have received training in EMDR and use it as a somatic modality w/ my clients. It has helped to not only process but to regulate emotions, specifically anxiety.

— Lacee Lovely Lawson, Licensed Professional Counselor in Dallas, TX

I am trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which is an evidence-based therapy that can be used for stress reduction, posttraumatic growth, and changing negative beliefs. I am a member of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing International Association (EMDRIA) and I attend ongoing EMDR trainings and conferences.

— Nancy Lee, Licensed Professional Counselor in Foxfield, CO

I have been using EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) to treat areas of trauma, anxiety, panic, specific phobias and addiction since originally being trained. EMDR is highly effective for making long term progress and change in treating areas of concern that have previously been challenging to work through with typical talk-based treatment. EMDR provides a healthy cognitive change while addressing underlying emotional/behavioral triggers.

— Alison Murphey, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

EMDR was originally designed to treat PTSD, but now it is used for a range of diagnosis and presenting symptoms. Through the use of eye movements or bilateral stimulation, such as tapping or sounds, clients are able to access memories without fully reexperiencing the trauma. I feel that this is a compassionate and effective way to move clients forward in their healing and reduce their guilt and shame. I am trained in EMDR and am participating in consultation through EMDR Consulting.

— Lauren Viemann, Counselor in Seattle, WA

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing or "EMDR" is extremely helpful Research has shown EMDR therapy to be effective in treating PTSD, depression, anxiety, addiction and more. EMDR helps you process through debilitating thoughts and beliefs you've struggled with as a result of past experiences. EMDR helps get "stuck" memories "unstuck" so that you can move on with your life and stop living in the past.

— Julie Holburn, Counselor in Boulder, CO