Eye Movement Therapy (EMDR)

If you made it here to the EMDR page you either know exactly what you need (because you have done your own research) or you are curious about different approaches to treating anxiety and trauma. Either way it’s my goal to provide some basic info so you can understand why EMDR works and how it is different from standard talk therapy. If after reading this you still have questions please feel free to contact me for a free phone consultation and I will answer your questions.


What does EMDR stand for?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It’s a way to process traumatic memories either by using a back and forth eye movement or using what we call bi-lateral stimulation (BLS). BLS is a form of tapping that alternates right and left side of your body- I use a small device for this in my office.


How is this different from talk therapy?

When you talk about your trauma with someone it will create what we therapists call activation. What that means is you start to get anxious and can almost feel like you are back at the scene of the trauma. If you are only talking about it you may find that when you leave therapy you still feel a bit activated and the memories still bother you.

What we want to do is re-visit the memories so they can be what we call processed. When you try to do that with just talk therapy you are limited how far you can go before your body and your brain start to shut down. It is your system’s way of protecting yourself from experiencing emotional pain but it keeps the memories stuck.  This would explain why talk therapy may not have worked for you in the past regarding your trauma.


How does EMDR work?

I work with you to identify specific memories related to your trauma and we “target” them one a time. We do so in the safety of my office. I help guide you through the memories to completion, which means you will experience symptom relief after a memory, has been worked all the way through.

It is important to know that I will not do EMDR with someone on a first appointment. I need to get a sense of your history and spend a few sessions getting comfortable working together. EMDR preparation is important, I want all of my clients to have a full understanding of what to expect.


Another great resources is the international association for EMDR called EMDRIA.

Click here for more information on EMDR. 


Does every therapist know how to do this?

No. EMDR is a specialty and requires additional training.  The training therapists attend is varied and a lot of therapists out there who do EMDR have not completed advanced (level 3) training. I have completed level 3 training.


Where did you learn how to do EMDR?

All of my training has been done through the Laurell Parnell institute. This means in addition to being an EMDR therapist I have been trained in what is called Attachment Focused EMDR.  This helps with working with childhood trauma or what I like to call interpersonal or relational trauma.