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

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a powerful new psychotherapy technique which has been very successful in helping people who suffer from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, post traumatic stress and many other emotional problems. Until recently, these conditions were difficult and time-consuming to treat. EMDR is considered a breakthrough therapy because of its simplicity and the fact that it can bring quick and lasting relief for most types of emotional distress. EMDR is the most effective and rapid method for healing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as shown by extensive scientific research studies. The EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation, right/left eye movement, or tactile stimulation, which repeatly activates the opposite sides of the brain, releasing emotional experiences that are "trapped" in the nervous system. This assists the neurophysiological system, the basis of the mind/body connection, to free itself of blockages and reconnect itself.

— Kimberly Krueger MSW, LCSW, Counselor in Davidson, NC

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is an evidence-based therapy that was originally created for trauma. However, it is now used to unravel negative memories and to rewire neural pathways in the brain for a variety of issues. EMDR works by extricating those distressing memories so that while the memory still remains, it no longer triggers the same physiological responses in the body (anxiety, anger, panic, fear). You don't have to live with fear, anxiety or confusion anymore.

— Ashley Evans, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Dallas, TX

I am an EMDR trained therapist. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It was first used in the 1980’s to treat symptoms of trauma in combat soldiers, but is now an evidence-based treatment for many different mental health concerns, from depression and anxiety, to addictions and even chronic pain. My certification in EMDR is through the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA), and I plan to continue with advanced training and certification in the future.

— Kevin Faust, Mental Health Counselor in Chambersburg, PA

I have been trained in EMDR and am currently in the certification process. I receive bi-monthly consultation for EMDR in order to continue strengthening my skillset and expertise.

— Shelby Chantilly Alkire, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in , CA

A type of psychotherapy which involves reprocessing and desensitizing one's distress to traumatic memories that impact a client's ability to function in their daily lives. We will work towards finding an adaptive resolution to your challenging difficulties.

— zarna shah, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Williston Park, NY

I completed EMDR training in 2016 and have been using the technique in my practice ever since. I have also completed workshops on special topics in EMDR and continue to grow my skills as often as possible.

— Lacey Stewart, Counselor in Albuquerque, NM

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

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

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from different treatment approaches.

— Dr. Jada Philips, PhD, Psychologist in Parsippany, NJ

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. At Livewell we are trained and certified in using this therapeutic approach to help 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

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 , CT

I'm a certified EMDR Practitioner.

— Dr. Lili Wagner, Psychologist in , CA

I chose to be trained in EMDR as I was seeing married couples and parents with a past childhood trauma that was wreaking havoc in the marriage and with their children. The past Traumas needed to be processed and healed before they could truly be present for their spouse and/or their child(ren). I frequently take new courses to learn new ways to apply EMDR such as for depression, addictions, and with children. I am also a part of a monthly consult team of EMDR therapists.

— Alicia Bradshaw, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Chattanooga, TN

If you believe that what's bothering you in the present comes from your past, EMDR might be a good fit for you. When you are in a stressful or traumatic situation (as a child or as an adult), your brain can't process all the information. In EMDR, we go back and look at the memory with your "adult self" in charge to see it a different way, so you can feel free from the negative cycle it's causing. Check out this video on my website if you're curious to know more: https://bravespacesd.com/emdr

— Colleen Hennessy, Licensed Professional Counselor in , CA

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 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

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

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