EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization
and Reprocessing

Rapid Treatment and Results for PTSD and ANXIETY related symptoms.

EMDR is used for individuals who have experienced emotional distress and/or trauma and are presenting symptoms such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Severe Anxiety.

Some who can benefit from EMDR:

  • Sexually or emotionally abused
  • Combat veterans
  • Experienced a natural disaster first hand
  • Unexpected death of loved ones
  • Accident victims
  • Crime victims
  • Victims of long term health issues and or/pain

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Flashbacks, or reliving the traumatic event for minutes or even days at a time
  • Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Avoiding activities you once enjoyed
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Irritability or anger
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Hearing or seeing things that aren’t there

For a detailed list of anxiety symptoms affiliated with trauma see http://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-symptoms.shtml


EMDR treatment consists of 8 phases and each phase has its precise intentions.

Phase I History and Treatment Planning

The therapist will conduct an initial evaluation of the patient’s history and develop a general plan for treatment.

Phase II Preparation

Using EMDR light and audio equipment, the therapist initiates lateral eye movement while asking about associative information elicited during the procedure.

Phase III Assessment

Exchanging  negative cognitions (NC) associated with the trauma images with positive cognitions (PC) to be associated with the same images.

Phase IV Desensitization

At this time, when the patient is focused on the negative cognition as well as the disturbing image together, the therapist uses EMDR equipment and requests the patient to follow the lights with their eyes. This process continues until the patient no longer feels as strongly about the negative cognition in conjunction with the image.

Phase V Installation

At this time the therapist will ask the patient to focus on the positive cognition developed in phase III. The therapist will continue with EMDR equipment and the patient is to continue following with the eyes while focusing on the new and positive thought. When the patient feels he or she is certain the positive cognition has replaced the negative cognition the installation phase is complete.

Phase VI 

At this phase the goal of the therapist is to identify any uncomfortable sensations that could be lingering in the body. While thinking about the originally disturbing event, the patient is asked to scan over his or her body entirely searching for tension or other physical discomfort. Any negative sensations are targeted and then diminished using the same bilateral stimulation technique from phases IV and V.  Phase VI is considered complete when the patient is able to think and speak about the event without feeling any physical or emotional discomfort.

Phase VII Closure

Naturally, not all traumatic events will be resolved completely within the timeframe allotted. In this case the therapist will guide the patient through relaxation techniques that are designed to bring about emotional stability and tranquility. The patient will also be able to use these same techniques for experiences that might arise in between sessions such as, strong emotions, unwanted imagery, and dismal thoughts. The patient may be encouraged to keep a journal of these experiences, allowing for easy recall and processing during the next session.

Phase VIII Reevaluation

With every new session the therapist will reevaluate the work done in the prior session. The therapist will also assess how well the patient managed on his or her own in between visits. At this point the therapist will decide whether it is best to continue working on previous targets or continue onto newer ones.