Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

What is EMDR?

As an EMDR therapist, I have the training and experience to understand how powerful this psychotherapy can be for people of all ages dealing with trauma or other adversities. However, most people are unfamiliar with this approach, so let’s talk about how change can occur using EMDR Therapy.

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

Developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in the late 80s, EMDR is a psychotherapy approach that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress resulting from disturbing life experiences, such as abuse, bullying, domestic violence, grief/loss, attachment wounds, abandonment, PTSD, and more.

EMDR therapy is not just for treating trauma.

EMDR can be equally effective in treating the “everyday” memories responsible for feelings of low self-esteem or powerlessness, and it has been proven effective in addressing conditions, including:

  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Depression
  • Panic Attacks
  • Grief
  • Performance anxiety
  • Social anxiety

You can achieve change and live with meaning and connection.

How does EMDR work?

EMDR therapy helps the brain reprocess traumatic memories so they feel less upsetting, overwhelming, and have less power to disrupt your life. This is achieved by having the client process emotionally disturbing material in brief sequential doses while simultaneously focusing on a therapist-led external stimulus, which can be directed lateral eye movement, hand-tapping, or an audible tone.

The eye movements or other external stimuli used during EMDR therapy mimic the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, i.e., when specific memories are accessed and processed naturally during sleep. However, with EMDR, the memories are carefully chosen for processing in a controlled and safe manner where survivors of trauma can reprocess the memories and make new connections, ultimately reducing the distress associated with the trauma.

Once the traumatic memory network is accessed during EMDR therapy, new associations can be created around it. These new associations are thought to result in complete information processing, new learning, desensitization of old emotional distress, and development of new cognitive insights.

EMDR is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, and the Department of Defense as a drug-free, safe and effective approach to healing the symptoms and emotional distress caused by traumatic events. Over 100,000 clinicians worldwide use the therapy, and millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 33 years.

EMDR is just one of the approaches I utilize in my Washington-based therapy practice, and I often use it in combination with other evidence-based strategies to address client-specific issues.

With EMDR and other approaches, my goal is to help you transform your relationships – with yourself and others – so you can live a life of greater meaning and connection. 

Reprocess, Reintegrate, Reclaim: Start EMDR Today