EMDR Therapy is unique in that clients may choose whether to share every detail of memory with the EMDR therapist or a brief overview for the intervention. The technique basically helps clients "re-file" memory into a place in the brain that is not at the forefront, so it does not continue to interfere with daily life. The first method of bilateral stimulation required eye movements, however, there are alternatives such as tapping and the use of a hand-held tapper. While this process may sound simple, there is an assessment and preparation involved prior to the actual bilateral stimulation. A skilled therapist will assess and provide EMDR if appropriate.

Refiling a Memory

Think about a cluttered desk or computer desktop and your thoughts focus on the clutter every day. Once the clutter is filed away, your thoughts are no longer distracted by the clutter. Similarly, EMDR takes the disruptive thought, reviews it, and once cleared, it is filed and no longer "flashing" at you every day. The details of the memory or trauma are not required to be verbalized for this treatment to be effective, so this helps clients with trust or other privacy concerns. Once the memory is "refiled," there is a sense of feeling lighter, increased energy, clarity, and heaviness lifted. After EMDR, the memory is stored but in a place that is no longer confused or disruptive.

Who can benefit from EMDR therapy?

therapy helps children and adults of all ages. Therapists use EMDR therapy to address a wide range of challenges:

  • Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias
  • Chronic Illness and medical issues
  • Depression and bipolar disorders
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Grief and loss
  • Pain
  • Performance anxiety
  • Personality disorders
  • PTSD and other trauma and stress-related issues
  • Sexual assault
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Violence and abuse


EMDR is known as a rapid treatment that may show results faster than traditional therapy. The standard protocol consists of 8 phases and the results may vary for each individual. While EMDR is considered faster than traditional therapy, a treatment plan and process are involved.

Alternative Methods

While the initial form of treatment required eye movements, bilateral stimulation may also be obtained by utilizing tapping with theratappers which is a comfortable hand-held device, or electronically by way of hand tapping. The therapist will review the appropriate method with you during preparation.

Can EMDR therapy be done without a trained EMDR therapist?

EMDR therapy is a mental health intervention. As such, it should only be offered by properly trained and licensed mental health clinicians. EMDRIA does not condone or support indiscriminate uses of EMDR therapy such as "do-it-yourself" virtual therapy.

EMDR Therapy requires a therapist to obtain specialized training in addition to their licensing. Approved training programs are offered through EMDR Institute and EMDR Hap and must be approved by EMDRIA, the governing board of EMDR Therapists. Qualified EMDR Therapists have either basic training and received a certificate of completion, or they are Certified in EMDR Therapy. A Certified Therapist gained additional hours of EMDR training compared to basic training, but both are acceptable.

Experiencing EMDR Therapy

After the therapist and client agree that EMDR therapy is a good fit, the client will work through the eight phases of EMDR therapy with their therapist.

Attention will be given to a negative image, belief, emotion, and body sensation related to this event, and then to a positive belief that would indicate the issue was resolved.

A typical EMDR therapy session lasts 50 minutes with managed care and can go 90 minutes with cash payment. EMDR therapy may be used within a standard talking therapy, as an adjunctive therapy with a separate therapist, or as a treatment all by itself.

All information came from EMDRIA.Org

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