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A form of psychotherapy aimed at alleviating the negative consequences of trauma or disturbing experiences. EMDR may help with those who suffer from forms of PTSD, depression, or abuse.

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Possible Benefits

  • EMDR may help people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSP), Anxiety, Panic attacks, Depression, Eating Disorders, and Addictions.

Not only people with these problems can benefit from EMDR. EMDR has more benefits, for all people:

  • EMDR may lead to a change in our self-limiting beliefs, based upon negative experiences in our past.
  • EMDR may help people recover from all sorts of trauma (divorce, loss, bullying, etc.).
  • EMDR may lead to results fast, in just a few sessions, in contrast to other forms of therapy.
  • EMDR helps with everyday stresses.
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Required Equipment


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How to Do It

Most people who practice EMDR do so with a therapist. 

EMDR therapy is directed towards the past, present, and the future. The therapist reexamines traumatic events as well as the patient’s childhood. Early life is revisited because some trauma may have roots in early life events. 

EMDR therapy also works on present and current symptoms. This therapy also focuses on the future - toward the building of the skills necessary to overcome these symptoms. The process has a few phases. 

In early phases the client and therapist talk about client’s problems while the therapists move one finger in front of the eyes of the client and client is instructed to follow that finger with his/her eyes for a few minutes. After doing that, the therapist and client again talk about other symptoms of the client, and the client is again instructed to follow the finger of the therapist, and so on. This is done to help clear the patient’s mind and allow the therapist to try and understand exactly what events or emotions are causing the mental anguish. In the final phases, the therapist and client do the reflections of the therapeutic process in general.

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Why it works

The central presumption of this therapy is that an individual cannot hold on to two separate trains of thought equally at the same time. When we are in a state of stress, our brain doesn't function in the same way as it does when we are in a normal state. Individuals with trauma are always in the state of stress, and therefore, cannot function normally. EMDR brings back the memory of the trauma to the primary attention and weakens it. EMDR doesn't brainwash people into forgetting the trauma it just tries to make this memory less painful.

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Time Commitment

Once a week for roughly 90 minutes.

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Suggested Frequency

One to two times per week. Consult your therapist. Most treatments take 6-12 sessions.

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Time of Day


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Celebrities/Doing it

 Rachel Wood

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Possible Side Effects

Side effects include:

  • Forgotten unwanted memories can come to the surface.
  • Clients can experience some emotions and physical reactions which neither therapist nor client could predict.
  • It is possible that the brain continues to process stressful events after EMDR.
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EMDR may help with more significant psychological problems or to relieve small everyday stresses.

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Supporting Studies and Articles

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  1. There are many supporting studies regarding EMDR. For example, Shapiro (2014) showed that EMDR has proven to be more effective in treating trauma from trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. The research further indicates that EMDR is effective in treating phobias (Roos & Jongh, 2008) panic disorder (Goldstein et al., 2000), conduct problems and self-esteem (Gauvreau & Bouchard, 2008) even for migraine headaches (Marcus, 2008) and more.
  2. Shapiro, F. (2014). The role of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in medicine: addressing the psychological and physical symptoms stemming from adverse life experiences. The Permanente Journal, 18(1), 71.
  3. De Roos, C. J. A. M., & de Jongh, A. (2008). EMDR treatment of children and adolescents with a choking phobia. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 2(3), 201-211.
  4. Goldstein, A. J., De Beurs, E., Chambless, D. L., & Wilson, K. A. (2000). EMDR for panic disorder with agoraphobia: Comparison with the waiting list and credible attention-placebo control conditions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68(6), 947.
  5. Gauvreau, P., & Bouchard, S. (2008). Preliminary evidence for the efficacy of EMDR in treating generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 2(1), 26-40.
  6. Marcus, S. V. (2008). Phase 1 of integrated EMDR: an abortive treatment for migraine headaches. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 2(1), 15.
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