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What is EMDR?

EMDR enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Studies show that by using EMDR therapy, people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.  

For example, when you get a splinter your body works to close the wound.  If the splinter or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain.  Once the splinter (the block) is removed, then healing resumes.  EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.  The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes. 

EMDR can be very effective for those troubling memories or ingrained patterns of behavior that traditional talk therapy has not fully helped you to shift: the meaning of a painful event is transformed on an emotional level.  For example, an assault victim shifts from feeling weak to both feeling and firmly believing that, “I survived it and I am strong.” 


Unlike talk therapy, the insights gained in EMDR therapy are from your own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes.  This results in feelings of empowerment rather than the intense pain from experiences that once were triggering and painful.  Emotional wounds not just close, they are transformed. 

EMDR is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the Department of Defense.  For more information, please visit

How Does EMDR Work?

EMDR is an 8 phase protocol.


Phase 1 is gathering history and figuring out what we want to work on. For example, if you currently feel you're struggling with asking for what you want, you may have a memory of a time you felt shamed when asking for help.  As we explore your current triggers and history, we’ll decide together which specific memory to target first.

Phase 2 is education and resourcing: I’ll teach you important information about the brain, the nervous system and how they're affected by trauma.  You'll also learn relaxation and containment exercises.


Phase 3-7 is re-processing: once we’re ready, we’ll use your target memory and begin bi-laterals: either eye-movements or tactile tappers (they feel like a cell phone buzzing in your hands). I’ll ask you for brief feedback on what you’re experiencing in the present moment, we'll apply the bi-laterals, ask for more feedback, and repeat:  you’ll be awake and fully in control the entire time.


Phase 8 is checking in and reviewing: are you experiencing this memory in a different way? Are you finding your symptoms have decreased or disappeared? We then look at other related memories to see how these may have changed. If applicable, we would then begin looking at another target.


Bilateral stimulation helps the neurophysiological system to release emotional experiences that get stuck in the nervous system and returns the body and emotions to a feeling of equilibrium. It accelerates the brain's capacity to process and heal the memory being targeted, which can leave a sense of greater ease and self-agency.

EMDR is NOT Hypnotism!
Clients are always aware during the process


What Issues are helped by EMDR?

School anxiety
Habitual negative beliefs 

Work stress
Disordered eating

Grief and loss


Traumatic events

Anxiety or panic

Health conditions/chronic pain

Sense of impending doom

Low self esteem
Sense of powerlessness
Relationship problems
Difficulty trusting others
Sleep disturbances

Self-blame, shame or guilt
Stuck patterns of behaviors 

Performance anxiety

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