What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy approach shown to be effective in treating post-traumatic stress. 

In addition, EMDR has been used successfully to treat eating disorders, self-harming and/or suicidal behaviors, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and stress. EMDR can also help clients to visualize a peak performance.


How does EMDR work?

No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works in the brain. But, we do know that your brain processes information differently when you are upset.

A traumatic, or wounding event, can become "frozen in time". Remembering a trauma may feel like going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.

EMDR therapy helps the brain process through material that was too disturbing to be processed at the time the event occurred.  EMDR therapy helps unfreeze this material and makes it less disturbing.

EMDR Therapy Sessions

The therapist will obtain a thorough psychosocial history to understand the nature of the problem and how the client’s current functioning has been impacted. EMDR therapy may begin if the therapist and client agree that EMDR is appropriate for a specific problem.

A typical EMDR session lasts one session (50 minutes). The number of treatment sessions will depend on the type of problem, life circumstances, and the amount of previous trauma. Traditional “talk” therapy will be interwoven into the sessions to allow time for discussion and reflection.

There is no a fixed number of sessions required to administer EMDR. There are no additional fees associated with EMDR therapy.

What is an EMDR Certified Therapist?

A therapist that is EMDR certified must meet the following requirements.

  • Hold a clinical license (LCSW) for more than 2 years

  • Complete a 40-hour, Level I training program approved by EMDRIA (EMDR International Association)

  • Engage in 20 hours of professional consultation with an EMDRIA approved consultant

  • Complete 12 hours of advanced training in EMDR

  • Complete 50 EMDR sessions with at least 25 clients

In order to maintain EMDR certification, the therapist must meet continuing education requirements administered by EMDRIA.