What is EMDR and How Does it Work? – Treatment and More

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(Newswire.net — June 21, 2019) — Wondering what is EMDR and how does it work? EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This is typically an interactive psychotherapy method that is often used for alleviating psychological stress in many mental illnesses, such as PTSD.

What is EMDR and How Does it Work?

During an EMDR therapy session, you will recall triggering or traumatic events in brief doses as the therapist is directing the eye movements. This technique is useful since reliving distressing experiences can be less upsetting for your emotions thanks to diverted attention. This enables you to exposure to the thoughts or memories without an intense psychological response. EMDR will relieve the effects that the thoughts and memories have on your mind over time.

Benefits of Having EMDR Therapy

Those people who are suffering from traumatic memories or PTSD can benefit a lot from EMDR. This technique is thought to be especially effective for people who find it hard to talk about past events and experiences. Even though there is still not enough research to show its effectiveness in those areas, EMDR is also used by many therapists to treat some health issues. These include addictions, panic attacks, depression, eating disorders, and anxiety.

How does EMDR work?

In general, a typical EMDR therapy session will have 8 phases:

  • Phase 1: History and Planning
    • Firstly, the therapist will review the history and determine where you would be in the treatment process. During this step, he also talks about your issue and identifies possible traumatic experiences to treat.
  • Phase 2: Preparation
    • In the next phase, the therapist will show you some different ways to deal with the psychological or emotional stress that you are experiencing. Some common techniques such as mindfulness or deep breathing might be applied.
  • Phase 3: Assessment
    • Now the therapist will find out the particular events that would be targeted and other related elements for those targeted memories.
  • Phases 4 to 7: Treatment
    • The therapist will start using EMDR techniques to deal with each targeted memory. During the process, you might be asked to pay attention to a negative image, memory, or thought. At the same time, you have to perform particular eye movements. After this bilateral stimulation, you need to let the mind go blank to focus on the feelings and thoughts you are having.
    • When you get distressed, the therapist will support you in coming back to the present and then moving to other traumatic memories. Over time, your distress over specific memories, images, or thoughts will start to disappear.
  • Phase 8: Assessment
    • Lastly, you will be asked to assess your progress. The therapists will also do this at the same time.


You should now have an understanding of what is EMDR and how does it work. EMDR is a form of psychotherapy and has been shown to be effective in alleviating PTSD and trauma. In addition, it might be used to treat other mental issues such as panic disorders, depression, and anxiety. Many people might choose this technique over prescription medications, which would lead to some unexpected side effects. Others might find that it can strengthen the effectiveness of other drugs. Just make sure to choose a licensed therapist to get the best results.