EMDR Therapy

Woman letting go of trauma through EMDR Therapy by a licensed therapist at Hillary Counseling in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Unprocessed trauma does not disappear, it is stored in your body.

What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a therapy practice with over 30  years of research that helps adolescents and adults heal from traumatic life experiences like anxiety, depression, fears and phobias, OCD, dissociative disorders, problematic repetitive behaviors, and more.  

EMDR is a method used to help clients process through traumatic memories by ‘clearing’ out memories in the mind and in the body. EMDR recognizes that trauma is stored not only in our minds, but our bodies as well, and it needs to be ‘cleared’ from both to fully heal.  

How does EMDR Therapy work?

Trauma memories get stored in our minds and bodies incorrectly, therefore leading to  maladaptive coping (hyperviligance, anxiety, depression, flashbacks, continuous fight or flight responses, etc). EMDR’s goal is to reprogram these memories, so they are no longer distressing. 

This process is identifying a memory/ies to process through, choosing a negative cognition attached to the memory and working towards changing the negative cognition to something positive and healing.  

EMDR uses bilateral stimulation (tapping on both sides of the body) to process through  memories on both sides of the brain. Connecting both parts of the brain activates the memory portion of our brain and allows us to process the memories differently. Once the memory is ‘cleared’ (no longer distressing) in the mind, it is ‘cleared’ from the body using the same bilateral stimulation.  

What can EMDR Treat?

In more recent research, EMDR has also been shown to be an effective treatment for many different diagnoses and mental health concerns. EMDR has been known to help clients who have experienced traumas such as:  

  • Abuse  
  • Neglect 
  • Assault 
  • Injuries  
  • Accidents 

People often don’t realize that EMDR can be very effective in helping clients with:

  • Eating disorders 
  • Body image concerns 
  • Anxiety and panic 
  • Phobias 
  • Depression and bipolar disorders
  • Relational distress 
  • Dissociative disorders 
  • Grief and loss 
  • Chronic pain  
  • Stress reduction  

EMDR Therapy Benefits:

EMDR is a powerful method for helping a client gain a sense of control and empowerment over themselves and their lives. Unresolved traumas can cause you to feel out of control of your own emotional reactions, but EMDR gives you back the control. Here are some ways EMDR therapy has helped people regain control over their lives:  

  • Research has shown that EMDR therapy is highly effective in the treatment of trauma, with 100% of single-trauma survivors and 77% of multiple-trauma survivors no longer meeting diagnostic criteria for PTSD after just six 50-minute EMDR sessions. 
  • EMDR is not only clinically effective but the most cost-effective in the treatment of adults with PTSD.
  • EMDR is found to be much more effective to help adults and children lessen (or lose) PTSD entirely after 6 months compared to other medications.

We can’t take your painful memories away, but we can help you reprocess the traumatic  event so you don’t react in the same way. 

Have a question? Ready to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation?