EMDR therapy FAQ

Are you looking for creative solutions to

  • negative thinking patterns
  • anxieties or excessive worry
  • disturbing memories of trauma or abuse
  • an experience that continues to feel disturbing or limiting when you remember it, e.g. a humiliation, a betrayal, a disappointment.
  • thoughts and ideas that prevent you from succeeding

EMDR therapy can help with this and more. Find out if EMDR therapy can benefit you by taking the EMDR therapy self-assessment quiz.

What is EMDR therapy?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy is a quick and powerful therapeutic method, proven by many research studies to be highly effective in reducing the symptoms of trauma. It was developed in 1989 by Francine Shapiro, PhD. You can read more about it here.

What is the difference between EMDR therapy and traditional therapy?
EMDR therapy is a structured therapeutic approach. In EMDR therapy, we will work collaboratively with you observing and reporting what comes up when you think about the memory, while I observe and guide the process. For resolving painful memories, EMDR therapy has been shown to work faster and more deeply than traditional talk therapy.

EMDR therapy 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. In addition, unlike many other forms of therapy, EMDR therapy can be done with a separate therapist as an adjunct to psychotherapy you may already be engaged in. This would be most effective for a single traumatic event such as a car accident as opposed to a history of complex trauma such as childhood wounding, sexual abuse or family of origin issues.

How or why does EMDR therapy work?
There are numerous research studies that show the effectiveness of EMDR therapy, but the mechanism behind it is still not fully understood. There are a number of proposed theories to explain how EMDR therapy works, such as that it is a similar mechanism to Rapid Eye Movement in sleep. Another theory is that when you are traumatized, the memory gets stuck in a part of the brain and that EMDR therapy helps your brain process the memory so that resources in other parts of your brain on both sides connect more effectively so that traumatic memories no longer trigger you to feel you are reliving the thoughts, feelings and body sensations you experienced when you went through the event.

EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation (right/left eye movements, tactile or auditory stimulation), which is believed to activate both sides of the brain, releasing emotional experiences that are traumatic or undigested.