Mental Health


Mandy Kloppers

EMDR Therapy: What are the Benefits?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy is a revolutionary approach to mental health treatment. Developed by Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s, it has gained recognition for its effectiveness in treating trauma and various psychological disorders. While she was walking in the middle of the woods, she noticed that she was able to decrease her negativity just by darting her eyes from one side to another, and the psychologist noticed the same with her patients.

Overall, it’s a structured treatment that encourages the patient to briefly focus on the trauma memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation that’s typically in the form of eye movements. This process is believed to reduce the vividness and emotion associated with the trauma memories and while it’s shown as something effective, it has remained controversial among the professionals in the field.

What are the Different Phases Involved?

Gathering and sharing information is often included in the overall conversation between the practitioner and the patient. They will come up with a specific plan based on your situation and they are going to explain how the process works. Managing the upsetting feelings that can bubble up during the session is also part of EMDR therapy and the best ones are going to help you overcome them.

Any traumatic event will be addressed, and this includes talking about it in detail as well as changing your emotions about it in the future. Desensitization is the next step where the target memory comes into focus and the practitioner starts the eye movements. Any new feelings that come up should also be shared.

Attaching something positive to the memory can eradicate unpleasant emotions. As you progress, the expert will start to pay attention to the bodily responses that you’re giving. The ultimate goal is to decrease and eliminate any negativity after the therapy. Others will finish the sessions once you achieve a sense of security, and a reevaluation will be held after some time. A more traumatic memory can be up to 12 sessions or more, depending on your needs.

The hallmark of the therapy is bilateral stimulation, which can include side-to-side eye movements, hand-tapping, or audio stimulation. This aspect of the therapy is thought to engage both hemispheres of the brain, facilitating the processing and integration of traumatic memories.

What are the Benefits?

a woman sitting on a couch talking to another woman

EMDR is best known for its effectiveness in treating post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD and this is very common with the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Guidelines are often found to be effective for both military and non-military personnel and the World Health Organization has given them their official seal of approval.

Those who have debilitating conditions due to war or traumatizing events can get new hope with these treatments, and their other advantages are discussed further below.

The rapid result is something that many people seek, and they are often getting the quickest results in a short period. The brain is a lot more powerful than some people think and the therapists are going to prevent the patients from crying all the time, being angry with everyone, and starting signs of insomnia. Preventing them from getting anxious by clearly knowing the triggers can immensely help. Other benefits of these kinds of treatments are the following:

Sessions can help reduce the need for medication in managing mental health symptoms. For individuals who prefer to avoid or minimize taking a lot of pills each day, EMDR provides a powerful alternative that addresses the root causes of distress rather than merely managing symptoms. See more about an EMDR on this webpage here.

Versatility in Treating Various Conditions


While the therapy is renowned for its effectiveness in treating PTSD, it is also beneficial for a wide range of other psychological issues. These include anxiety, depression, phobias, chronic pain, and grief. Its versatility makes it a valuable tool in the therapeutic scene.

Many clients report an increase in self-esteem and a sense of empowerment following the therapy. When they can resolve everything that’s bothering them from the past as well as the negative memories, individuals often feel more in control of their lives and better equipped to handle future challenges.

The Science Behind This Treatment

EMDR is based on the Adaptive Information Processing or AIP theory, which states that mental health disorders are often due to unprocessed traumatic memories. Overarching goals help reprocess these memories, so they are stored more adaptively, reducing their negative impact.

Research has also indicated that therapy can lead to changes in the brain. Neuroimaging studies have shown that EMDR can alter brain activity, particularly in areas involved in memory processing and emotional regulation. These changes are believed to contribute to the therapeutic effects of the process and you can see more about the techniques in this link:

Finding an EMDR Therapist

Therapist talking to patient

When seeking a professional, it’s important to find someone who is properly trained and certified. The EMDR International Association offers certification to therapists who have completed rigorous training and demonstrated proficiency in EMDR.

An initial consultation with a potential therapist can help determine if they are a good fit for your needs. During this consultation, you can discuss your concerns, ask questions about the therapist’s approach, and gain a better understanding of what to expect from therapy. Feedback from previous clients can also be available and you can visit their social media page or website to get an idea of whether they are legitimate or not.

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