How EMDR Therapy Works

EMDR Therapy is an evidence-based psychotherapy approach that is used to treat a variety of mental health concerns, including PTSD and anxiety disorders. This form of psychotherapy can help you to overcome your feelings of fear, anger, shame, and confusion associated with a past traumatic experience. It can also help you to overcome the symptoms of stress and depression that are often a result of past traumas.

Whether you are seeking a treatment for PTSD or another disorder, it is important to find a therapist who is experienced and trained in using EMDR. You may be able to find one online, through sites such as BetterHelp.

How EMDR Therapy Works

During the first part of each session, the therapist asks you to focus on a specific memory or event from your life that is related to the problem you are experiencing. Your therapist uses eye movements (or other BLS, such as hand tapping) to stimulate the brain and assist you in processing the memory. The therapist also guides you to notice the emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations that arise when you think about the memory or event.

The therapist then leads you through several stages of the therapy. The first phase is the eye movement or other BLS, in which you focus on the memory or event and use your eyes to track the therapist’s finger moving back and forth across your field of vision.

As the eye movements or other BLS stimulate your brain, you begin to process the memory in a new way. You begin to see the memory in a different light and develop new insights about how it made you feel.

You also begin to replace the negative beliefs that you have about the trauma with healthier, more positive beliefs about yourself. As the eye movements or other BLS continue, you will gradually strengthen these new positive beliefs until they are fully accepted by your brain.

Your therapist will use the seven-point Visual-Optically Coded (VOC) Scale to measure your progress during this phase. This scale allows your therapist to monitor how well you are adapting to the treatment and whether or not it is having a positive impact on your life.

If you continue to have distressing feelings or symptoms after each EMDR session, your therapist will provide additional techniques and procedures that can be used between sessions. These include relaxation exercises and visualization techniques that can help you stay grounded and focused between sessions.

When you leave the EMDR session, your therapist will guide you to find a safe place and to relax, as well as to talk about the experiences that occurred during the therapy. This is important, as it can be helpful to discuss these things with a trusted professional before making any decisions about your future treatment plan.

EMDR Therapy is an effective tool for treating a wide range of psychological and physiologic conditions, including stress-related disorders, trauma-related illnesses, and medically unexplained symptoms. In addition, it has been shown to quickly alleviate a wide array of symptoms that are associated with past traumas, such as anxiety and depression.

How EMDR Therapy Works