What is EMDR?

A Therapeutic Treatment for Trauma, Anxiety, and Mental Health Challenges

What is EMDR?

EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, was discovered in 1987 by Francine Shapiro, who identified the benefits of bilateral stimulation (BLS) for processing memories in order to enable the brain and body to heal in a natural way. EMDR helps create the connections between your brain’s memory networks, similar to what happens in REM or dream sleep, through eye movements (tones, tapping, and other forms of BLS), which helps reprocess the memory and other associated experiences. 

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What does EMDR help?

The results from evidence-based research have proven this EMDR successful in treating PTSD, trauma, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, stress, phobias, sleep problems, complicated grief, addictions, pain relief, phantom limb pain, self-esteem, and performance anxiety. EMDR can accelerate therapy by resolving the impact of your past traumas and allowing you to live more fully in the present. EMDR can be utilized not only to process past trauma but also present challenges and future issues because of the effectiveness of focusing on replacing negative cognitions (beliefs) with positive cognitions about self and increasing awareness about body tension.

What is an EMDR session like? 

During EMDR treatment, you will remain fully alert as this is not a form of hypnosis. You can stop the process at any time. EMDR is conducted in eight phases, with the first two phases feeling like “normal” therapy because the BLS doesn’t begin until Phase 3. Your therapist may use the traditional eye movement technique, guiding you to watch their finger moving backward and forwards across your visual field, butterfly tapping, or using a pulsing device that you hold in your hands.

Phase 1: History Taking & Treatment Planning
may be multiple sessions

Phase 2: Preparation & Stabilization
may be multiple sessions to reinforce life skills

Phase 3: Assessment
identifying the “target” to process

Phase 4: Desensitization 

processing the target with BLS sets

Phase 5: Installation
installing the new positive beliefs about self with BLS

Phase 6: Body Sensations
identifying where the body needs to process with BLS

Phase 7: Closure
completing the EMDR session or pausing for future processing

Phase 8: Reevaluation
reflecting on results and processing as needed

Is EMDR for me?

If you would like to explore EMDR as a treatment option, you should discuss it with your therapist. While you can find numerous resources for “self” EMDR, the processing of traumatic memories should only be done by a trained clinician to achieve the desired healing.

How can I get started?

To receive EMDR treatment, you need to be established with an EMDR-trained therapist. If you would like to work with Lisa, and live in PA or are able to invest in travel to PA, you can submit an appointment request using the form below. 

Appointment Request Form
Consultation sessions are 15 - 25 minutes and invoiced in advance for $15 to hold your appointment time.

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