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What is EMDR therapy?

I've heard about it online, through a friend, or in a book - what is this therapy I keep hearing about?


What is EMDR?

  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an evidence-based psychotherapy intervention that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.

  • EMDR was initially developed as a therapeutic approach specifically for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, over time, its efficacy and versatility have been recognized, leading to its application in treating various mental health disorders in the present day.


What happens during trauma…

  • Our brain has the capacity to heal, just like the body does. However, when we experience a traumatic event, the memory of this event may not be processed in the same way that an ordinary memory is processed and may get ‘stuck’ in the body and mind.

  • We then may feel as though we are reliving the event over and over and experiencing the thoughts and feelings that we had at the time of the trauma. This can present as symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts. Additionally, this may present in behavior, including dysregulation or challenges with functioning.


How EMDR Therapy may help

  • EMDR uses bilateral stimulation (eye movements, tapping, auditory noise) to activate the brain in a way that processes and resolves ‘stuck’ traumatic memories. In a sense, EMDR ‘kick-starts’ the brain’s natural healing process and gets it moving again.

  • Pathways start connecting between the emotional part of the brain and the part of the brain that thinks logically. Individuals have reported an improved sense of self and changes in their thinking, emotional responses, and behavior.

  • EMDR in treatment looks different for each person and is highly individualized, due to each individual person's current capacity and where they are in their healing journey.


Research Base

  • EMDR is an innovative treatment that has successfully helped over a million individuals worldwide and its validity and reliability have been established through clinical research with infants as young as 18 months of age.

  • EMDR Therapy is a highly effective method of treatment that is endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

  • The database of research can be found here at: https://www.emdr.com/research-overview/


Common Myths about EMDR treatment can be found here:




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