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What is EMDR?

EMDR is an acronym for an effective mental health therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is a well-researched therapy that helps people with issues related to trauma, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS).

How EMDR Works

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a technique used by a licensed practitioner working directly with a patient. The process works by the therapist inviting the patient to recall emotionally triggering or traumatic events while simultaneously instructing them to make specific eye movements. The goal of EMDR is to help the patient process any buried or unprocessed life experiences that are affecting their current life. It’s used to ease anxieties and heal traumatic memories and responses so that patients can live happier lives free of the burdens of trauma.

How EMDR Can Help People with Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD

Because EMDR gets to the root of the issue, it’s effective in treating anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

EMDR has been studied in comparison with other therapies such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), and studies have shown that EMDR produces effective results similar to evidenced-base therapies when used in an outpatient setting with children with PTSS (Diehle J, et al). EMDR has also been shown to reduce worry and anxiety in adult patients (Gauvreau and Bouchard).

And, according to the EMDR International Association, EMDR therapy is recognized by many associations such as the World Health Organization, the American Psychiatric Association, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for its effectiveness in treating anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

It’s understandable that people can be wary of trying EMDR because it can sound counterproductive or scary to relive events that have such strong emotional ties. But, the point of the therapy is to change your emotional responses to your memories so that they have less power over you. EMDR is an incredible therapy that has the power to heal traumatic memories over time by lessening your body and mind’s distressful responses. Most patients opt to have several sessions with their therapist to work with EMDR therapy.

Steps to EMDR Treatment

There are several steps to EDMR treatment, which we’re more than happy to discuss with you via phone or during your appointment.

The EMDR therapy steps are:

  1. Evaluation. We’ll talk about EMDR treatment and your specific issues, and answer any of your questions.

  2. We’ll talk about coping techniques that you can use right away to cope with feelings and issues you may be experiencing.

  3. We’ll identify traumatic or triggering memories to target and identify your specific responses to them.

  4. We’ll use EMDR therapy techniques in a safe, comfortable environment. Your therapist will ask you to recall the identified traumatic memories while instructing you to make specific eye movements.

  5. We’ll evaluate your progress after the session. It may take several sessions of EMDR therapy to reach your desired result.

Let’s Talk. Get Your Free Consultation.

EMDR is different from traditional talk therapy, which makes it a great option for people who want alternatives. EMDR can also be used in conjunction with talk therapy. There are many options to fit your needs. Our licensed therapists are trained and experienced in providing EMDR therapy and we’re happy to give you information about the process to discover if EMDR therapy is right for you.

Please reach out to us here at Life’s Journey Counseling to learn more. You can get in touch by calling 502-385-4151, or you can fill out the online form and we’ll get back to you soon.


  1. Diehle J, et al (2014) Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: what works in children with posttraumatic stress symptoms? A randomized controlled trial. DOI 10.1007/s00787-014-0572-5

  2. Gauvreau and Bouchard (2008) Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, Volume 2, Number 1

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