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What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing.


It is a form of psychological treatment that, when administered by an appropriately trained and experience therapist, can help people deal with

the symptoms and emotional distress (like anxiety, sleeplessness, panic attacks and depression) that are the result of traumatic life experiences.

EMDR Therapy might be useful to improve affective and cognitive symptoms and could be add-on treatment in chronic pain conditions. 

There are eight phases to EMDR therapy: initial history discovery and treatment planning, preparation, assessment, desensitization, installation, body scan, closure, and then reevaluation.



EMDR Therapy focus on:

  • THE PAST: Past disturbing memories and related events

  • THE PRESENT: Current situations that cause distress; present triggers.

  • THE FUTURE: Develops the skills and attitudes needed for positive future actions.

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Who can benefit from EMDR therapy?

EMDR therapy helps children and adults of all ages.

Therapists use EMDR therapy to address a wide range of challenges:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other trauma and stress-related issues

  • Recent traumatic events

  • Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias

  • Depression

  • Grief and loss

  • Sexual assault

  • Sleep disturbance and nightmares

  • Violence and abuse

  • Abandonment

  • Chronic Pain

  • Social Anxiety

  • Performance anxiety

  • Optimal Performance



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Introduction to EMDR Therapy

Introduction to EMDR Therapy

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EMDR Therapy explained, Rochester, NY

EMDR Therapy explained, Rochester, NY

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EMDR Therapy
  • The beginning sessions of EMDR Therapy will involve discussing what the client wants to work on and improving the client's ability to manage distress.

  • When ready for the next phases of EMDR therapy, the client will be asked to focus on a specific disturbing event. Attention will be given to a negative image, belief, emotion, and body feeling related to this event, and then to a positive belief that would indicate the issue was resolved.

  • While the client focuses on the upsetting event, the therapist will begin sets of side-to-side eye movements, sounds, or taps. The client will be guided to notice what comes to mind after each set. He or she may experience shifts in insight or changes in images, feelings, or beliefs regarding the event.

  • The client has full control to stop the therapist at any point if needed. The sets of eye movements, sounds, or taps are repeated until the event becomes less disturbing.

  • A typical EMDR therapy session lasts from 60 - 90 minutes. EMDR therapy may be used within a standard talking therapy, as an adjunctive therapy with a separate therapist, or as a treatment all by itself.

Evidence for EMDR


EMDR International Association

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