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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR (Eye-Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) is one of the best researched, most effective psychotherapy treatments for a wide range of issues, including: 

  • PTSD

  • Panic attacks

  • Phobias

  • Dissociation

  • Childhood trauma   

With national success rates up to 90%, studies show that EMDR can achieve the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. 


EMDR works very well for individuals who have tried therapy before but continue to feel stuck and unable to move forward. 


The client calls to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, felt, heard, thought, etc., and what thoughts and beliefs are currently held about that event.  The therapist facilitates the directional movement of the eyes, while the client focuses on the disturbing material, and the client just notices whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control what information comes up.

Each person will process information uniquely, based on personal experiences and values.  Sets of eye movements are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with positive thoughts and beliefs  about one's self; for example, "I did the best I could."  

During EMDR therapy, the client may experience intense emotions or sensations, but by the end of the session, most people report a great reduction in the level of disturbance.


Traumatic incidents are stored differently in the brain than non-traumatic experiences.  The emotions, thoughts and sensory perceptions, which were appropriate at the time of the trauma, can be triggered throughout the person’s life at times when trauma is not present.  This results in symptoms such as anxiety, chronic pain, and difficulty sleeping.  Many clients with a history of trauma report feeling "stuck".

EMDR assists clients in reprocessing (revisiting and relearning) earlier life incidents that have contributed to their present day symptoms.  Doing so allows those older memories to be stored correctly in the brain so that emotions, thoughts and sensory perceptions are no longer triggered.  EMDR also assists clients in uncovering the beliefs that developed as a result of earlier life experiences, and helps them to remove these negative beliefs.  The EMDR therapist assists the client in replacing the negative beliefs with positive, adaptive beliefs about themselves.

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