Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)?

EMDR is a therapeutic approach used to treat a variety of disturbing emotional states such as anxiety, anger, fear, guilt, panic depression and trauma.  It helps individuals transform emotionally charged events and memories that lead to the upsetting symptoms.  It is a drug-free non-verbal therapy that uses rapid eye movement or alternative bilateral movements that leads to reprocessing of the troubling memory or emotion.   EMDR has been found to be highly effective in multiple research studies  (see EMDR institute and EMDR Canada).

How does EMDR work?

When a disturbing event occurs, it can get locked in the nervous system with the original sounds, pictures, thoughts and feelings.  When a traumatic or troubling experience occurs, the brain may not be able to process it effectively.  This is why people experience disturbing events may have trouble letting go of the memories long after the event took place.  EMDR enhances the brain's natural healing ability and removes the negative charge related to past events.   It alleviates feelings of shame, guilt, or other negative beliefs about yourself. 

What kinds of difficulties are treated by EMDR?

EMDR is effective for any traumatic or anxiety provoking event such as car accidents, crime, abuse, emotional and partner injuries, and nightmares.   It is used as an adjunct in the treatment of depression, guilt, grief, panic disorder, chronic pain and addictions.

How long does EMDR treatment take?

EMDR typically requires 6 to 10 sessions, but may be effective for some clients in even one session.