Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR Therapy)

Our EMDR Treatment page offers comprehensive and evidence-based therapy for trauma and distressing experiences. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) helps individuals process traumatic memories and alleviate their emotional impact.

Talk to a Professional

Our skilled therapists utilize bilateral stimulation techniques to guide clients through the reprocessing of distressing events, leading to resolution and healing. Experience transformative results with EMDR, promoting emotional well-being and fostering a renewed sense of empowerment.

What is EMDR Therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a therapeutic technique used in mental health treatment. It entails guiding the movement of your eyes while addressing and processing traumatic memories. The primary objective of EMDR is to facilitate healing from trauma and other distressing life experiences. This therapy aims to offer relief and support in overcoming the impact of past events on your well-being.

Who Needs to Have EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy offers effective assistance to individuals across a broad spectrum of mental health conditions. It proves beneficial not only for adolescents, teenagers, and adults of all ages but also for children, with some healthcare providers specializing in providing EMDR therapy to the younger population.

What Conditions and Problems Does EMDR Treat?

EMDR therapy finds its most widespread application in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, mental healthcare providers also utilize this technique in the treatment of various other conditions, including:

1. Anxiety disorders: Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, and social anxiety/phobia.

2. Depression disorders: Major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, and illness-related depression.

3. Dissociative disorders: Dissociative identity disorder or amnesia and depersonalization or derealization disorder.

4. Eating disorders: Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

5. Gender dysphoria (feeling as though your gender is different from the one assigned to you at birth).

6. Obsessive-compulsive disorders: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), body dysmorphic disorder, and hoarding disorder.

7. Personality disorders: Borderline personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder.

8. Trauma disorders: Acute stress disorder, PTSD, and adjustment disorder.

How Common is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy has gained widespread popularity across the globe. In the United States, both the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense acknowledge EMDR as a "best practice" for treating PTSD among veterans. Extensive research on EMDR includes numerous clinical trials, research studies, and academic papers.

Furthermore, this therapeutic approach holds official approval from respected entities like the World Health Organization (WHO) and government organizations and agencies in various countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany. Its growing recognition and approval affirm EMDR's effectiveness in addressing trauma-related conditions on an international scale.

What Does EMDR Therapy Involve?

EMDR therapy involves eight distinct phases that unfold over multiple sessions, and occasionally, one session may encompass elements from multiple phases. For instance, phases 1 and 2 are usually addressed in early sessions, while phases 3 through 8 extend over multiple sessions later in the process.

The nine phases of EMDR therapy are as follows:

History-taking and Treatment Planning

The number of sessions required depends on the nature and complexity of the trauma. For a single disturbing event or memory, typically, three to six sessions are sufficient. However, more intricate or long-term traumas may necessitate eight to 12 sessions or even more. Each session typically lasts between one hour to 90 minutes.

Patient History and Information Gathering

During this phase of the process, your healthcare provider gathers essential information about your background and history. This aids in assessing whether EMDR is a suitable approach for you. Additionally, they inquire about distressing or unsettling events and memories you wish to address in therapy, along with your specific therapy goals. Understanding your unique experiences and objectives enables the provider to tailor the EMDR treatment effectively to meet your needs.

Preparation and Education

In this phase, your healthcare provider will discuss the EMDR session procedures and what you can anticipate throughout the treatment. They will also guide you on aspects to focus on during sessions to enhance your sense of stability and safety. Moreover, they will equip you with valuable tools to effectively manage your emotions during the therapy process. By providing this guidance and support, the healthcare provider aims to ensure your comfort and empowerment throughout the EMDR sessions.


During this phase of the process, your healthcare provider assists you in identifying significant themes and specific memories that you may wish to address during the reprocessing stage. They will help you recognize both negative beliefs stemming from how the trauma has affected you emotionally and positive beliefs you aspire to embrace about yourself as you move forward. By pinpointing these beliefs and memories, the provider aims to create a foundation for effective reprocessing and personal growth throughout the EMDR therapy journey.

Desensitization and Reprocessing

In this phase, your healthcare provider initiates memory activation by guiding you to identify one or more specific negative images, thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations associated with the traumatic event. As the reprocessing unfolds, they will support you in being attentive to your emotions and any fresh thoughts or insights that emerge during the process. By encouraging this awareness, the provider facilitates the exploration and understanding of your experiences, promoting healing and personal transformation throughout the EMDR therapy sessions.


In this phase, your healthcare provider will guide you to concentrate on the positive belief you wish to cultivate while processing a memory. This belief may be something identified during Phase 3 or a newly formed realization that emerges during Phase 4. By emphasizing this positive belief, the provider aims to reinforce resilience and growth, promoting a transformative shift in your perspective as you progress through the EMDR therapy.

Body Scan

During this phase, your healthcare provider will direct your attention to the physical sensations you experience, particularly any symptoms that arise when you recall or encounter the negative memory. This crucial step aids in monitoring your overall progress through EMDR therapy. As you advance through sessions, you should notice a reduction in these symptoms until they diminish entirely, or at least to a minimal level. Once your symptoms have significantly improved or disappeared, it indicates the completion of the reprocessing, signifying a positive outcome of the EMDR therapy process.

Closure and Stabilization

This phase serves as a vital link connecting subsequent sessions. Your healthcare provider will use this time to discuss what you can anticipate between sessions and provide guidance on stabilizing yourself, particularly if you experience negative thoughts or feelings during this period. The provider ensures that each session concludes only when you feel calmer and safe, prioritizing your well-being.

Additionally, they may encourage you to jot down any new thoughts that arise concerning the disturbing event(s), so you can address them during your next session. By fostering open communication and providing support beyond the immediate session, the provider aims to promote continuity and progress throughout the EMDR therapy journey.

Reevaluation and Continuing Care

The concluding phase of EMDR therapy entails your healthcare provider reviewing your progress and current well-being. This evaluation helps determine if additional sessions are necessary or if adjustments to your therapy goals and expectations are required. Moreover, they will assist you in exploring how you might handle future situations, armed with the knowledge gained during therapy, about yourself and your past trauma.

By reflecting on your journey and equipping you with coping strategies, the provider empowers you to face the future with greater resilience and understanding, ensuring a meaningful and lasting impact from the EMDR therapy.

What Can You Expect From EMDR?

An EMDR treatment session typically lasts up to 90 minutes. During the session, your therapist will use hand motions, finger movements, or alternatives like tapping or musical tones while you recall a disturbing event, including associated emotions and body sensations.

As the session progresses, the therapist will guide you to shift your focus towards more positive thoughts. Advocates of EMDR believe it can help weaken the impact of negative emotions, and your therapist will ask you to rate your distress level before and after each session, aiming for a reduction in the intensity of disturbing memories.

While most research on EMDR has focused on its use in treating PTSD, it is also experimentally employed for various other psychological issues, such as panic attacks, eating disorders, addictions, and anxiety related to public speaking or dental procedures.

How Effective is EMDR?

You might find it somewhat skeptical to think that making eye movements while recalling a traumatic experience can actually ease painful memories.

Although the exact mechanism behind its effectiveness isn't fully understood, some experts believe that EMDR works by reducing the emotional distress associated with recalling distressing events.

In other words, the bilateral stimulation (BLS) employed in EMDR gives your mind something else to focus on while accessing distressing memories and unwanted thoughts.

This diversion helps diminish the intensity of the memory, providing you with a safe space to process it without being overwhelmed by a strong psychological response.

Since its introduction in 1987 there have been a number of studies that support its effectiveness.

According to a review done in 2014 of 24 studies that substantiate the aforementioned statement, it was found that:

  • EMDR therapy offers potential relief from emotional distress following adverse experiences.
  • It may provide a faster and more effective approach compared to trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
  • EMDR has been shown to potentially alleviate somatic symptoms, such as pain or muscle tension.

EMDR For Depression

In a 2015 study involving 32 individuals receiving inpatient care for depression, EMDR therapy demonstrated promising results as a treatment option. The study revealed that 68 percent of those who received EMDR achieved full remission after the treatment. Furthermore, participants experienced significant improvements in depression symptoms, a reduced risk of relapse, and decreased concerns related to depression during follow-up assessments conducted over a year later. 

EMDR For Children

A summary of research studies in 2012 indicated that EMDR therapy could be beneficial in treating a single traumatic event in children. It also shows promise as a potential treatment for repeated trauma, such as abuse. However, experts acknowledge the need for further research in this area to gather more conclusive evidence and fully understand the effectiveness of EMDR in addressing repeated trauma. Continued research will provide valuable insights and inform the use of EMDR as a therapeutic approach for various trauma-related conditions in children.

EMDR For Panic Disorder

A study conducted in 2017 involving 84 individuals diagnosed with panic disorder indicated that EMDR therapy is comparable in effectiveness to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for reducing symptoms associated with panic disorder. The study suggested that EMDR can be an equally viable treatment option for managing panic disorder symptoms.

After a Stressful Event Requiring EMDR Treatment

In a study conducted in 2018, it was observed that a single 1-hour session of EMDR therapy demonstrated potential in preventing post-concussion-like symptoms in patients who had received emergency room care following a stressful event. The study suggested that EMDR therapy may have a preventive effect on the development of symptoms associated with concussions. These findings shed light on the potential utility of EMDR in mitigating the negative impact of traumatic experiences and promoting better outcomes in patients who have experienced stressful events requiring emergency medical attention.

EMDR For Refugees With PTSD

In a small-scale study conducted in 2018, researchers examined the advantages of EMDR therapy for Syrian refugees suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study involved 18 participants who received EMDR as part of a group therapy intervention. Remarkably, just over 61 percent of the participants no longer met the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis after the treatment. Moreover, those who underwent EMDR reported a reduction in symptoms of depression. 

EMDR For Psychosis

A review conducted in 2020, which examined six studies, suggests that EMDR therapy may be beneficial in the treatment of psychosis without causing any adverse effects. Across all six studies, EMDR demonstrated positive outcomes, including a reduction in delusions and negative symptoms. Participants also reported decreased reliance on medication and mental health services. Additionally, some individuals noticed a decrease in hallucinations and paranoia. The authors of the review highlighted the necessity for larger trials to further substantiate these observed benefits. 

How EMDR Treatment Can Help With Trauma, Anxiety, and More

Despite its unconventional approach to addressing distressing experiences, EMDR has demonstrated remarkable efficacy. Here's the compelling proof of its effectiveness in treating various conditions:

EMDR and Abuse Trauma

Survivors of abuse often carry deep emotional wounds that can persist throughout their lives. However, EMDR treatment offers hope for healing from these enduring traumas. In a particular study focusing on survivors of childhood sexual abuse, participants were divided into three groups: one receiving EMDR treatment, another undergoing traditional individual treatments, and a third group with delayed treatment. The results revealed that those who received EMDR showed immediate improvements compared to the control group.

What's even more encouraging is that after three months, the EMDR group continued to outperform the traditionally treated group. This finding underscores the lasting benefits of EMDR therapy for survivors of abuse, emphasizing its potential for long-term healing and well-being.

Natural Disaster Survivors

Survivors of natural disasters often endure trauma and subsequent emotional distress. Encouragingly, a review article examining eight studies found that EMDR therapy effectively reduced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among these survivors. Notably, in four of the studies, positive results were observed after only a single EMDR session. 


There’s a plethora of studies that have been conducted to determine the efficacy of EMDR for people with PTSD. A review of these studies shows that it was just as or more effective than treatments like relaxation techniques or active listening.

Additionally, in a study conducted by Kaiser Permanente, it was discovered that 100% of participants who had experienced a single trauma no longer met the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis following EMDR treatment. Additionally, among individuals who had experienced repeated traumas, 77% no longer exhibited symptoms of PTSD after undergoing this treatment.

EMDR for Anxiety

EMDR therapy has proven effective in addressing various forms of anxiety. A study focused on individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) who received EMDR treatment revealed promising results. Following the treatment, the subjects' anxiety symptoms significantly decreased to a level below the diagnostic threshold for GAD. In other words, their condition had improved to such an extent that they would no longer meet the criteria for a GAD diagnosis. Notably, two participants showed no signs of GAD whatsoever two months after undergoing EMDR treatment. Overall, patients who received this therapy experienced substantial improvement in symptoms related to worry and anxiety, underscoring the potential of EMDR as a valuable intervention for individuals struggling with anxiety disorders.

How to Choose an EMDR Therapist

To be able to administer EMDR an expert has to go through specific training to deliver it safely and effectively. Our experts at Mindtalk are trained to do so and have years of experience under their belt. You could also try asking your family and friends for referrals as that is a good way to go about finding a therapist that suits your needs. Again, if nothing else suits you, know that we’re here to help!


When should you not use EMDR?

EMDR may not be suitable for individuals with severe dissociation, psychosis, or those who are unwilling to engage in trauma processing.

What are the limitations of EMDR?

Limitations of EMDR include the need for trained therapists, limited research on certain populations, and individual variability in treatment outcomes.

What do I need to know before starting EMDR?

Before starting EMDR, it's important to understand the potential intensity of emotions that may arise and find a qualified therapist.

How many times a week should you do EMDR?

The frequency of EMDR sessions can vary depending on individual needs, but typically ranges from once a week to a few times per month.

What part of the brain does EMDR calm?

EMDR therapy is believed to impact various areas of the brain involved in memory processing and emotional regulation, promoting a state of calmness.

What is the success rate of EMDR?

The success rate of EMDR varies depending on the individual and the specific condition being treated, but overall it has shown positive outcomes in many cases.

What happens after your first EMDR?

After the first EMDR session, individuals may experience a range of emotions and processing of memories. Subsequent sessions continue the therapeutic process.

How do you feel after the first EMDR session?

Reactions after the first EMDR session can vary, but common experiences include feeling emotionally drained, tired, or relieved, and having increased awareness.

How do I prepare myself for EMDR?

To prepare for EMDR, establish a supportive therapy relationship, understand the process, discuss concerns with your therapist, and be open to the healing journey.

Why Mindtalk?

Mindtalk is a leading mental health provider from the Cadabams family bringing new-age therapeutic experiences. ‍