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 (Eye-Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) is one of the best researched, most effective psychotherapy treatments for a wide range of issues, including: ​ PTSD Panic attacks Phobias Dissociation Childhood trauma ​ With national success rates up to 90%, studies show that EMDR can achieve the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. EMDR works very well for individuals who have tried therapy before but continue to feel stuck and unable to move forward.

— Dana Carretta-Stein, Mental Health Counselor in Scarsdale, NY

EMDR is a somatic psychotherapy that utilizes bilateral stimulation such as eye movement or tactile signals to desensitize painful memories, relieve distress and change negative beliefs. EMDR therapy helps people release the emotional charge of painful experiences so that they are no longer triggered by reminders of those events. EMDR is the gold standard for treating trauma and its resulting PTSD, as well as lesser traumas that get replayed throughout life: rejection, failure, and loss.

— Ofra Obejas, Clinical Social Worker in Redondo Beach, CA

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.

— Jeff Lewis, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Chicago, IL

EMDR is my favorite modality, it's like magic I swear. Okay, it's not really magic, but it feels that way when you are doing it. It feels silly, but the "bi-lateral" stimulation (which can be feeling a buzz in alternating hands, tapping on alternating knees, or shifting your eyes back and forth as you follow my fingers) while working through past trauma and it reduces the emotional component attached to memories. It's even been approved by the VA for treatment of PTSD and they're tough.

— Taunya Gesner, Counselor in Gresham, OR

I have completed EMDR training and love working with clients to use EMDR to help them manage difficult past issues that still come into their lives and affect them currently.

— Kelsey Riddle, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Scottsdale, AZ

EMDR is an evidenced-based therapy that uses your own natural ability to heal! It is effective for a number of concerns and can produce quick and long-lasting results. I'm nationally certified in EMDR and my specialties include helping clients of all ages heal from childhood sexual abuse and neglect, assault, bad relationships, PTSD, dissociation, attachment issues, and trauma based on cultural identities and discrimination.

— Kaley Sinclair Jiawon, Counselor in Orlando, FL

I became interested and trained in EMDR due to its effectiveness at clearing residual stress from certain memories/experiences. I use EMDR in combination with grounding and mindfulness techniques to help my clients overcome their experiences and build resiliency.

— Katherine Hughes, Clinical Social Worker in Alexandria, VA

I love all aspects of EMDR and find the outcomes superior to other trauma modalities. In addition, I use the Flash Technique when needed to bring a disturbance down to a manageable level so that we can process using the full protocol thereafter.

— Niki Saigeon, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Colorado Springs, CO

EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, is a powerful, evidence-based therapeutic tool that has been proven effective for relieving symptoms of trauma as well as other mental health issues. Unlike traditional “talk-therapy”, AF-EMDR therapy (Attachment-Focused EMDR) focuses on the client’s processing that takes place in the subconscious brain, and less about communicating in the prefrontal cortex, or conscious brain. Often, rationalization and denial get in the way, keeping clients stuck when change and healing want to occur. AF-EMDR bypasses these roadblocks, allowing access to the root cause that is keeping the client stuck and a felt sense of change and healing to emerge.

— Kevin Stolper, Marriage & Family Therapist in Santa Monica, CA

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a specialized treatment which requires extensive education, training, and supervision in order to be able to practice. It's a way to unlock trauma and help particular memories to not be so painful. Together we can discuss if this would be beneficial for you.

— Erin Grasmeyer, Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Alamitos, CA

When something bad happens in your childhood, it can get stuck in the brain. You may even notice when you think about it you can see, smell, and hear the event just like it was happening right now. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) helps transform the memory into something that does not cause distress in your current life. You will still remember the event, yet it won't feel like it's happening right now, and you won't feel the body sensations (increased heart rate, sweaty palms, fast breathing) you may have experienced previously. I am trained in Level I and II EMDR, and I am pleased to provide this service to my clients.

— Rachel Moore, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Diego, CA

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a type of therapy that can help you heal from symptoms of traumatic stress and emotional pain resulting from challenging life experiences. Anyone who has noticed a bruise fade or a cut scab can acknowledge the body has a deep and sometimes mysterious capacity to heal itself from injury. However, we often forget the impressive healing power of our minds. EMDR is guided by a theory that recognizes the mind can heal itself as the body does.

— Olivia Clear, Counselor in Emeryville, CA

Eye Movement De-sensitization and Reprocessing (what a mouthful!) Basically the training is extensive (I have completed it all) and take every class I can to increase my knowledge. If you feel “stuck” or still bothered by a trauma, no matter how big or small, it is an unprocessed trauma and EMDR is for you. This process un-sticks trauma and removes your bothersome symptoms.

— Laura (Lori) Patin, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Eagle River, AK

Have completed training through the EMDR institute, Inc. and am in training for Attachment-Focused EMDR therapy. I apply all appropriate stages of EMDR based on clients’ unique needs.

— Jaclin Belabri, Counselor in Vancouver, WA

EMDR therapy was developed by Francine Shapiro in the 1980's and it helps people get unstuck from painful events in the past. I have been using EMDR for many years and have been certified by the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) as an EMDR Therapist since 2008. Thus, I have had many hours (and years now) of doing EMDR along with group and individual consultation from people who have even more experience with EMDR therapy than I.

— Lisa Larsen, Counselor in Lancaster, CA

For detailed information see the "services" at my website: www.summitwellnesscounseling.com.

— Aaron Porter, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Intern in Eugene, OR