EMDR Therapy – When Can It Help?

You may have heard of EMDR therapy, but what exactly is it?

EMDR therapy is a type of therapy that can be used to help treat a variety of mental health conditions.

It stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and it was started in the late 1980s by Francine Shapiro and is heavily researched as an effective treatment for things such as PTSD, anxiety, trauma, and depression.

EMDR therapy works by having the client recall a traumatic event or memory while simultaneously undergoing bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, tapping, hand buzzers, or auditory stimulation. Even though it sounds a bit “woo woo,” it’s a well-studied and evidenced base psychotherapy treatment.

This process is thought to help the brain process the distressing memory and activate the body’s ability to process the memory and store it in its proper time and place, vs. reliving it in the present over and over.

It is often used as an add-on to regular talk therapy or as a standalone therapy. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which EMDR therapy can help.

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EMDR for Anxiety

Do you suffer from anxiety? You’re not alone.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults. That’s a lot of people dealing with feelings of worry, stress, and unease on a daily basis.

EMDR has been shown to be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders, especially post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

EMDR is based on the idea that our brains are constantly processing information. When we experience a traumatic event, our brains can get “stuck” on it, replaying it repeatedly in our minds. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

While anxiety medication is helpful for many people, undesirable side effects can leave some individuals looking elsewhere. If you’re looking for a way to cope with your anxiety that doesn’t involve medication, you may want to consider EMDR therapy.

EMDR Therapy for Depression

Depression is another common mental health disorder affecting more than 16 million adults in the United States. While there are many different types of treatment available for depression, EMDR therapy is an effective treatment for this condition as well.

In one study, patients with major depressive disorder who received EMDR therapy showed significant improvements in symptoms compared to those who did not receive EMDR therapy.

EMDR therapy is an effective treatment for depression for several reasons:

First, it can help reduce negative thoughts and rumination, which are common symptoms of depression. Second, it can help increase positive emotions and decrease negative emotions. And finally, it can help increase self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.

During an EMDR sessions, you will be asked to focus on a specific memory or current situation that may be the root of your depression. As you focus on this memory, the therapist will guide your eyes back and forth in a specific pattern. This pattern helps to stimulate both sides of your brain and allows you to process the emotions associated with the memory in a new way.

This can help reduce the intensity of the emotions you’re feeling and eventually help you to let go of the memory altogether.


If you’re struggling with posttraumatic stress disorder, you may have heard of EMDR therapy and wondered if it can help you. While there are many different types of treatment available for PTSD, EMDR therapy is an effective and evidence-based treatment for this condition.

In one study, “Twenty-four randomized controlled trials support the positive effects of EMDR therapy in the treatment of emotional trauma and other adverse life experiences relevant to clinical practice. Seven of 10 studies reported EMDR therapy to be more rapid and/or more effective than trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy.”” – (NCBI) EMDR is evidence-based based and started off treating PTSD before being tested with other mental health areas.

EMDR therapy works by helping you process and release negative emotions that are stored in your body. This can be a powerful tool in recovery as it can help you to let go of the pain and trauma that may have led to your addiction in the first place. EMDR therapy is an Empirically validated psychotherapy approach.

Is Rapid Eye Movement Therapy For You?

If you’re struggling with PTSD, trauma, anxiety, depression, or other or other mental health related topics. Please reach out for help. Many resources are available to you, and one of those may be EMDR therapy. Our team at Talk. Heal. Thrive. psychotherapy specializes in helping people overcome a variety of mental health challenges using EMDR and other evidence-based psychotherapy treatments.

Further Reading

Lindsey Ferris, MS, LMFTA, Washington State

Talk. Heal. Thrive. therapist Lindsey Ferris is based out of Seattle, Washington working with clients via online EMDR therapy who are navigating personal and relational challenges

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