What is EMDR?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a form of therapy that helps people heal from trauma or other distressing life experiences. EMDR has been extensively researched and has demonstrated effectiveness for trauma. EMDR therapy is recognized as an effective treatment for PTSD by the American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, The World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Defense.
What is EMDR like during a session?
After you and your therapist agree that EMDR therapy is a good fit and begin to work together, you'll focus on a specific event. First, you'll focus on a negative image, belief, and body sensations related to this event. Then, associate a positive belief that would indicate a resolution. While focusing on the event, your therapist will guide you through sets of side-to-side eye movements, sounds, or taps, prompting you to notice what comes to mind. You may experience shifts in insight or changes in images, feelings, and beliefs regarding the event. You have full control to stop at any point if needed. Eye movements, sounds, or taps are repeated until the event becomes less disturbing.
How many sessions will I need to attend?
The number of sessions you'll need varies greatly depending on the type and complexity of the event. Your therapist may also use EMDR therapy in combination with other modalities.
Does insurance cover EMDR therapy?
Yes, as an evidence-based form of treatment, it is covered by insurance.
What ages are appropriate for EMDR?
The standard EMDR protocol is effective with teens and adults. There are additional protocols for therapists to integrate EMDR into Play Therapy, which allows them to treat children as young as three years old.
How do you qualify for EMDR?
Your therapist will assess your need for EMDR based on various factors, including your ability to tolerate distressing emotions, current substance use, symptoms, and coping skills. If your therapist believes you need more time before you are ready to engage in trauma-processing with EMDR, they will support you in learning ways to regulate emotions and cope with distressing events.
How long does the treatment last?
Once the entire EMDR process is complete, you should experience permanent symptom reduction. Some individuals require additional EMDR later in life as more life events occur and need reprocessing.
What can EMDR treat?
EMDR is effective for treating PTSD, emotional, psychological, and sexual trauma, anxiety-based disorders, and neglect, to name a few. EMDR can be used to treat any negative belief you have about yourself and want to change.
What should I expect after an EMDR session?
EMDR therapy can impact people quite differently. Some individuals report no noticeable change immediately after an EMDR session, while others report an increase in dreams, thoughts, and emotions about the event they are reprocessing. You may experience feeling physically and emotionally "drained" at the end of an EMDR processing session. Your therapist will ask you to note any new thoughts, memories, dreams, emotions, or body sensations you experience between sessions to guide your next time together.
How often do you need EMDR sessions?
EMDR is typically every week. However, it can still be effective every other week, with slower progress. Emerging research establishes the effectiveness of "EMDR Intensives" that involve administering EMDR therapy several hours a day for multiple days in a row.