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Exploring EMDR Therapy: Basics, Benefits, and What to Expect

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a powerful and evidence-based approach to treating trauma, anxiety, and various other mental health challenges. If you're curious about this innovative therapy or considering it for yourself or a loved one, this article will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what EMDR is, how it works, its benefits, and what to expect during a session.

What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy was developed by Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s and has since gained widespread recognition as an effective treatment for trauma-related disorders. It involves a structured eight-phase approach that focuses on processing distressing memories, reducing their impact, and helping clients develop more adaptive coping mechanisms.

How Does EMDR Work?

During an EMDR session, a trained therapist guides the client through a series of bilateral stimulation, which can include side-to-side eye movements, tactile stimulation, or auditory tones. These bilateral stimulations help the brain reprocess traumatic memories, allowing the individual to integrate them in a more adaptive and less distressing way.

Benefits of EMDR Therapy

  1. Trauma Resolution: EMDR is particularly effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related disorders by processing and resolving past traumas.

  2. Anxiety and Phobias: EMDR can help individuals manage anxiety disorders, including specific phobias, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.

  3. Depression: EMDR has been found to alleviate symptoms of depression, especially when depression is linked to past traumatic experiences.

  4. Enhanced Self-Esteem: By processing and resolving past negative experiences, individuals often experience improved self-esteem and self-confidence.

  5. Improved Relationships: EMDR therapy can help individuals address and overcome issues related to interpersonal relationships, leading to healthier connections with others.

What to Expect During an EMDR Session

  1. Assessment: The therapist conducts a comprehensive assessment to understand the client's history and identify target memories for processing.

  2. Desensitization: Bilateral stimulation is used to process the target memory, allowing the individual to reprocess it in a less distressing way.

  3. Installation: Positive beliefs and self-perceptions are reinforced to replace negative beliefs associated with the traumatic memory.

  4. Body Scan: The therapist helps the client identify and release any physical tension or discomfort associated with the memory.

  5. Closure: The session ends with a calming exercise to ensure the client feels grounded and safe before leaving the therapy session.


By understanding the basics of EMDR therapy and its potential benefits, individuals can make informed decisions about pursuing this transformative treatment option for their mental health needs. To learn more, check out our informational YouTube playlist by clicking HERE .

You can easily book an appointment with one of our highly-trained therapists by calling 440.879.8440 or completing our Contact Form.



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