How EMDR Rewires Your Brain to Heal Trauma

Have you ever been curious about the benefits of EDMR therapy? Perhaps you’ve heard about EDMR, but you’re not sure if it would work for you. Or maybe this modality sounds promising, but you have questions about what it would entail!

EDMR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Rather than going through talk therapy, your therapist observes your rapid eye movements during sessions. They monitor your reactions when recalling trauma, and in turn, they provide you with guidance and feedback to help you process your emotions.

EDMR can be helpful for treating many mental health conditions, including PTSD and eating disorders. Let’s explore how EDMR therapy works.

The Session Begins

To begin an EDMR session, your therapist will move their fingers in front of your eyes and ask you to shift your gaze to follow the movement. As they ask you to recall your trauma, including the emotional experience of the event and the bodily sensations you remember.

By watching the way your eyes move, they will notice which aspects of the trauma still affect you deeply.

Shifting Your Focus

In time, your therapist will guide you to shift your focus. Rather than thinking about the traumatic event, they will ask you to focus on more positive thoughts. It’s not about forcing positivity – it’s about considering your strengths and how you can heal from the circumstances.

As this phase begins, your therapist might use different motions to guide you. For instance, they might switch to toe-tapping instead of finger movements.

Monitor Your Feelings

Before and after each session, your therapist will take time to ask you about how you’re feeling. They might ask you to quantify or rate your level of distress. Ideally, bringing up traumatic memories becomes less stressful throughout the session.

As you follow your therapist’s movements and cues, the process allows you to release trauma that was stored in your body. And while EDMR is quite different from talk therapy, you will get the chance to talk about your feelings with your therapist during these “debriefing” opportunities.

Moving Beyond Trauma

Why is EDMR a good choice for some people who have experienced trauma? We often carry the effects of trauma with us in our bodies, sometimes for years after the traumatic event.

In addition, moving back and forth between memories of the event and then transitioning into a discussion of positive memories and emotions can help you learn how to calm down when effects of the trauma resurface during your time outside therapy.

In this way, EDMR is similar to prolonged exposure therapy. With the support of your therapist, you can safely reflect on your trauma, and they can assist you in learning to consider your past and future.

Reducing Anxiety

In addition to healing from trauma, EDMR therapy can also help to reduce anxiety. After suffering from trauma, it’s hard to simply get through the day. At any moment, you might be reminded of what happened. Even the thought of being exposed to a trigger can hold you back from doing what you really want.

You may end up avoiding certain places or situations because you fear you may be exposed to triggers that bring back memories of your trauma. In EDMR therapy, you can learn how to deal with moments like this, which can help to lower the anxiety you experience in your daily life.

Are you interested in pursuing EDMR therapy to heal from past trauma? Finding a therapist who specializes in EDMR is the first step. Reach out to us today to discuss if EDMR therapy is a good fit for you.

We offer a 20-minute complementary phone consultation to allow you time to talk to an anxiety therapist and better understand how we can help you specifically.

Our Counseling Centers are located throughout the valley with locations in Phoenix, Anthem, Biltmore, Paradise Valley, and Scottsdale.   Call us at 623-680-3486,text 623-688-5115, or email