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EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a clinically proven psychotherapy approach that can help people heal from various types of “small," “large," and "cumulative" traumas.  

Small traumas include more common everyday events, which are upsetting but are not always considered traumatic, even though they might have a lasting impact on how we interact with the world. Some examples of small traumas are bullying/teasing, car accidents, death of a pet, divorce, or loss of a job.


Large traumas are more severe than small traumas and can lead to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Some examples of large traumas are acts of violence, abuse, neglect, rape, war/combat, or natural disasters.

Some examples of cumulative traumas, which can also lead to PTSD, are racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., multiple military deployments, repeated abuse or neglect. 

EMDR can help with various traumatic events in the past, but it can also be utilized for distressing situations in the present (e.g. a difficult boss, stress reduction) and for building skills and attitudes for more positive future action (e.g. public speaking, a job interview, social engagements).


How Does EMDR Work?

EMDR can help clients reprocess trauma. When traumatic events happen, the brain can have difficulty processing information as it normally does. Information associated with the trauma can become “frozen” or “stuck” or "scattered" throughout the mind and the body due to the natural fight, flight, or freeze response to stress. 

By bringing up the traumatic memory in a safe and supportive atmosphere and then utilizing both sides of the brain with bilateral stimulation like eye movements, sounds, or tactile sensations, the memory will still be there, but it may have less intensity following the EMDR sessions. EMDR can also help clients gain additional insights about what happened to them in the past.

How Long Does EMDR Take?

One or more sessions are required to assess whether EMDR is appropriate for a client. The type of trauma presented and the amount of previous trauma affecting a client may determine how many EMDR sessions will be needed. EMDR can also be used in addition to standard talk therapy.


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