EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing)

Reprocess. Repair. Release.

What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a breakthrough, integrative psychotherapy proven to effectively treat survivors of psychological trauma and many types of emotional distress. It is known as the "gold standard" for the treatment of trauma.

EMDR was originally used to treat combat veterans in the 1970’s, but can be used to address all types of trauma. Additionally, EMDR has been shown to work for a variety of other mental health issues.

How does EMDR work?

EMDR follows an eight-phase protocol to enable a natural healing process. Through the use of bilateral stimulation, the brain's information-processing system becomes activated and assists in the desensitization of targeted disturbing material so that one can learn to integrate it into a more adaptive way of living.

In other words, EMDR positively impacts our brain functioning, allowing for upsetting events to be remembered without the associated distress and disturbing symptoms.  

A fully-processed targeted memory in EMDR will no longer produce nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, negative self-concept or emotional distress when recalled. 

In essence EMDR takes a skill our brain uses every night (REM sleep) and helps the brain to connect adaptive information with the maladaptive (trauma) information. 

Your brain is amazing and wants to heal. Once it sees a path to go from maladaptive to adaptive, it takes it and heals.

What does a typical EMDR session look like?

During your first couple sessions with your therapist, you will work together to better understand the issues or situations that are most troubling to you. These may include current upsetting issues or events or ones that stem from the past. 

Examples of sample targets (or memories we start with) for EMDR might be: 

  • A past or recent traumatic event
  • Negative beliefs
  • Relationship problems
  • Multiple relapses
  • Panic attacks
  • Performance anxiety 

Once we have pinpointed potential targets for EMDR treatment, we can begin processing using bilateral stimulation. Bilateral stimulation is usually conducted in the form of eye movements or alternating taps or tones.

You will select the method you feel most comfortable with before actual processing begins. Then, in each EMDR session, an Inner Balance therapist will guide you through processing material connected to the original target. You are in complete control of each EMDR session.  

Can you do EMDR online?

Yes, absolutely! With COVID-19 we have had to shift our way of doing things and providing services. We now have ways to use EMDR online that are just as effective as being in person. Some people actually have found online EMDR to be more helpful and less stressful than going into an office. Want to know more about online counseling? Click here to read about our online counseling services

Can EMDR still help even if I do not remember everything?

Yes! You do not have to remember every detail for EMDR to be effective. Many people come to EMDR therapy with missing time periods in their history. We can still help you to heal from your past and feel better.

I am interested, but I don't have PTSD or a history of trauma…

While EMDR is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and Department of Defenses as an effective, evidence-based practice for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) it has also proven to treat the following:

  • Eating disorders
  • Body dysmorphic disorders
  • Addictions
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Complex trauma
  • Sexual &/or physical abuse
  • Panic attacks
  • Performance anxiety
  • Stress reduction
  • Phobias
  • Disturbing memories
  • Pain disorders
  • Complicated grief 
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Inner Balance Counseling

1234 S Power Rd Suite 252
Mesa, AZ 85206

1414 W Broadway Rd Suite 122
Tempe, AZ 85282

Front office: Monday - Friday 9am-3pm
By appointment only.

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