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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a highly effective and successful therapy in the treatment of traumas. Trauma encompasses any disturbing or deeply distressing event that is difficult to assimilate into our lives and can run the gamut of life experiences.

Discovered in 1987 by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., this unique and incredibly effective treatment offers relief from symptoms including:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    – Rape and/or violent crimes
    – Domestic and/or child abuse (current or historical)
    – Survivor’s guilt
    – Military and police combat traumas
    – Terrorism, genocide, etc.
    – Natural disasters
  • Chronic Anger
  • Chronic Negative Self-Thoughts and/or Perfectionism
  • Complex Grief & Loss

As described on the EMDR website, “EMDR psychotherapy is an information processing therapy and uses an eight phase approach to address the experiential contributors of a wide range of pathologies. It attends to the past experiences that have set the groundwork for pathology, the current situations that trigger dysfunctional emotions, beliefs and sensations, and the positive experience needed to enhance future adaptive behaviors and mental health.” It is backed by countless case reports and controlled research, considered to be highly efficacious and has been adopted as treatment of choice by the Department of Defense and Departments of Health in numerous western and developed nations.

It is that good.

The 8 Phase Approach

  • History & Treatment Planning
  • Preparation
  • Assessment
  • Reprocessing
  • Desensitization
  • Installation
  • Body Scan
  • Closure

How Long Does it Take?

For single trauma histories, desensitization phase is usually accomplished within 3-6 sessions, thereby cutting the treatment time to a fraction of traditional “talk therapy” time. More complex histories will require more sessions and each case is treated individually with no treatment time guarantees. The total session time with the 8-phases of treatment (including history, installation, etc.) can vary dramatically and range from 6-20 total sessions.



Are you the victim of a violent crime, abuse or natural disaster?
Are you feeling stuck and without direction, or overwhelmed and on edge?
Do you have a negative self-concept based on specific events in your life?

EMDR With Children

EMDR with children works great, and also very differently based upon their developmental stage and the presenting issues.  The pace with children is often slower in order to establish rapport and gain trust, prioritizing their readiness to address a problem.
I often conduct EMDR with children while simultaneously playing or drawing and can even incorporate caregivers into the treatment to work on attachment problems.