What is EMDR?

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EMDR is a type of therapy that was developed to treat PTSD and to help clients cope with trauma. The theory behind EMDR states that our brain processes traumatic or disturbing life events in a maladaptive way. Remembering a traumatic memory is sometimes so disturbing that it feels like we are actually experiencing it. These memories can have a lasting effect and can color the way we view our current relationships and experiences.


EMDR therapy uses eye movements, sound or pulses to stimulate both sides of the brain, called bilateral stimulation. Focusing on a disturbing event or traumatic memory, along with the bilateral stimulation can help us to re-process the memory so it doesn’t feel as upsetting. It allows us to see and remember disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.

During an EMDR therapy session, the client will explore thoughts, feelings and body sensations attached to a specific memory. The therapist will use hand motions, a light bar, vibrations, or sounds while the client recalls the event or memory. In successful EMDR therapy, disturbing feelings or thoughts decrease in intensity.

For example, someone who experiences an assault may remember the incident with shame, self-disgust and fear. Through successful EMDR therapy, a client can remember the same incident with empowerment and strength.

EMDR therapy can be used to treat: PTSD, phobias, depression, childhood trauma, stress and other psychological concerns. And EMDR therapy can be done successfully online when clients can’t make it into the office. Online EMDR therapy can help with anxiety and trauma, even when past therapy hasn’t worked.

Read more about EMDR Therapy and contact DC Metro Sleep and Psychotherapy today.