Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy

As a Certified EMDR Therapist, I have been inspired by the power of EMDR to facilitate the transformation of trauma and distress into resolution and more adaptive coping. After years of work with EMDR I have come to trust the method as one of the most powerful tools in a psychotherapist’s kit.

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.

The brain has a way of processing disturbing memories so that you experience the events as being over. It was a lousy/terrible/horrific thing that happened. So glad it is over. However, sometimes this process gets stuck and the memory network seems to stay frozen in the brain. It is as though the part of you who experienced that event isn’t really clear that it is over. You may have flashbacks so you feel you are actually in that situation, you may find yourself triggered by something in the present so you respond as if you were in that situation, or you may hold beliefs about yourself that are associated with that memory but are no longer valid, if they ever were.

EMDR seems to kick-start that natural healing process to move the memory through and it does this at an accelerated rate. In effect, the memory is moved into the past and you experience it as being over. (April Steele)

Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.


(Source: EMDR Institute Inc.)

  • Certified EMDR Therapist/EMDRIA Certified – Therapists that are Certified in EMDR have not only completed the basic EMDR training, but have also went on to complete at least 20 additional hours of consultation and a minimum of 50 clinical sessions using EMDR. Therapists must be licensed for at least two years in their field as an independent practice mental health professional (meaning they are not an intern or still under supervision). In addition, EMDRIA – also know as the EMDR International Association – requires therapists to complete at least twelve hours of EMDR continuing education credits every 2 years to maintain certification. Being Certified in EMDR Therapy requires documentation to EMDRIA and recommendation from other professionals in the field for all of the above.

What kind of problems can EMDR treat?

EMDR is not a new therapy, research began back in 1989. Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Use of the technique continues to grow and most insurance companies now consider EMDR a medically necessary treatment for PTSD.

However, clinicians also have reported success using EMDR in treatment of the following conditions:

Panic Attacks, Complicated Grief, Dissociative Disorders, Disturbing Memories

Phobias, Pain Disorders, Performance Anxiety, Stress Reduction, Addictions

Sexual and/or Physical Abuse, Body Dysmorphic Disorders, Personality Disorders

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