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Empowering Recovery: A Guide to EMDR Therapy for Trauma Healing


Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a fairly new, alternative type of psychotherapy. It's gaining popularity, especially for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but it can also be used for other types of trauma. Developed by psychologist Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s, EMDR has evolved into a widely recognized and useful method for processing distressing memories and fostering mental wellness.

Understanding the Basics:f

EMDR therapy is a trauma therapy with eight phases, aimed at helping individuals overcome the effects of traumatic experiences. EMDR therapy focuses on the past, present, and future, focusing on past disturbing memories and related events. It also helps individuals take responsibility for current distressing situations and promotes the development of skills and attitudes needed for positive future actions. Unlike traditional talk therapies, EMDR integrates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with unique bilateral stimulation techniques.


The hallmark of EMDR therapy lies in its use of bilateral stimulation. This can take various forms, including lateral eye movements, tactile taps, or auditory stimuli. Researchers believe that bilateral stimulation engages both brain hemispheres, assisting the processing of traumatic memories and aiding in reframing and integrating them more healthily.

The Eight Phases of EMDR Therapy:

EMDR therapy consists of eight phases. These phases occur over multiple sessions, with one session sometimes using parts of several phases.

  1. History-Taking and Treatment Planning: The journey begins with a thorough exploration of the individual's personal history and an assessment of current symptoms. The therapist collaborates with the client to develop a personalized treatment plan.

  2. Preparation: Establishing a sense of safety and trust is crucial. You'll learn relaxation techniques and coping strategies to ensure you are adequately prepared for the emotional work ahead.

  3. Assessment: You identify target memories and rate the level of distress for each memory. This phase sets the stage for the subsequent processing phases.

  4. Desensitization: As you focus on distressing memories, you use bilateral stimulation. The goal is to reduce the emotional intensity linked to these memories, allowing for adaptive processing.

  5. Installation: Reinforce positive beliefs and self-esteem to replace negative cognitions associated with the trauma. Guidance leads you to internalize feelings of safety and empowerment.

  6. Body Scan: Attention shifts to any residual physical tension or discomfort linked to the trauma. The therapist assists you in processing and releasing somatic aspects of the distressing memories.

  7. Closure: Sessions conclude with a review of progress and the implementation of self-soothing techniques. You're encouraged to maintain self-care between sessions.

  8. Reevaluation: Subsequent sessions begin with a reassessment of progress and identification of any new targets for processing. This adaptive approach allows for ongoing refinement of the treatment plan.


  • Efficiency: EMDR has a relatively brief duration compared to traditional therapies. Clients often experience significant relief within a limited number of sessions.

  • Versatility: EMDR applies to various forms of trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and phobias. Its versatility makes it a valuable tool for a range of mental health concerns.

  • Lasting Results: Many individuals report enduring benefits from EMDR therapy, not just in symptom reduction but in a fundamental shift in their relationship to traumatic memories.

EMDR therapy stands out as a trauma therapy that has a dynamic and effective approach. EMDR helps you use your brain's natural abilities to overcome your distress. All of us at Redemption Wellness are trained in EMDR Therapy - contact us today to get started on your journey to healing.

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