What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR Therapy Gold Coast

Eyes focus on fingers to signify EMDR therapy

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. During EMDR therapy you are asked to briefly focus on the trauma memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (usually eye movements, but can also include tapping) to process emotions associated with the event. EMDR helps to reduce the intensity of these emotions and sensations.

EMDR therapy has extensive research* on its effectiveness that demonstrates positive outcomes for a range of disorders, and it is included as one of the treatment options under Medicare.

How Does EMDR therapy work?

When a person experiences a traumatic event their stress response can activate a fight, flight or freeze state. Depending on how the individual perceives the event, this can result in in a number of outcomes or responses. From a trauma response lens, a person may continue to experience distress when thinking about the event, or they may recall disturbing images, thoughts, and emotions that can create an overwhelming feeling of being back in that moment.

Our current experiences and how we respond to events can be informed by the emotions, sensations, thoughts/beliefs associated with earlier traumatic events and its associations, which can result in us reliving the event like it is still in the present and it is still occurring.

EMDR therapy helps the brain re-process the memories and helps to resolve the fight flight or freeze response so the image and event are no longer disturbing. A client may continue to experience certain emotions when thinking about the event i.e., sadness, guilt; however, the event is no longer disturbing and may no longer have a functional impact on their day to day life.

EMDR therapy allows the brain to resume its natural healing process. The client does the healing themselves, supported by the clinician who guides them through the process and helps provide a calm, safe container/space.

For many clients, EMDR can be completed in fewer sessions than other therapies with great outcomes depending on presenting issue.

Some of the issues EMDR can help with include emotional distress associated with: phobias, single incident traumas, childhood events.

The infographic below explains the eight phases of EMDR therapy:

infographic on 8 stages of EMDR therapy

Seeking EMDR therapy on the Gold Coast? Book an appointment now.

References (viewed 07.02.24):