What is EMDR Therapy and Who Can Benefit from It?

EMDR therapy stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a psychotherapy method. It uses two-sided stimulation to help people overcome emotional distress linked to PTSD and other mental health struggles.

EMDR therapy is based on several psychotherapy theories, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). It was developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Francine Shapiro to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. But, it soon became used to relieve emotional distress linked to other mental health conditions.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is well-researched mental health treatment. Today, EMDR is recognized by various international health authorities such as the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Some studies reveal that over 90 percent of single-trauma survivors had no PTSD symptoms after three EMDR sessions.

So, what makes EMDR so successful?


How is EMDR Therapy Done?

EMDR therapy is based on the theory that traumatic memories make changes in a person’s brain. Thus, the treatment focuses on disrupting thoughts and emotions that result from a traumatic event rather than the retelling of the event.

Sudden stress causes the brain to stop processing information normally. This can lead to negative thoughts and emotional pain.

EMDR therapy can reset your brain by replicating the REM stage of sleep (by performing rapid eye movements). This is the stage of sleep the brain normally uses to process information. Research shows that EMDR can rewire neural connections in your brain. It can also help an individual process a traumatic event or emotional experience.

Performing rapid eye movements while remembering a traumatic event allows the brain to process trauma and integrate it into the person’s experience. EMDR works to help make a disturbing experience less activating.

Apart from moving eyes from side to side, bilateral stimulation can involve:

  • Tones delivered to both ears
  • Bilateral tapping movements
  • Vibrations on both sides of the body


EMDR therapy involves eight stages of treatment:

  1. History

In the initial stage, the therapist will evaluate your history. This will include traumatic events, memories, and emotions. They will then develop a specific treatment plan based on your symptoms and specific memories.

  1. Preparation

During this phase, your therapist will educate you on EMDR therapy. They will establish a client-therapist relationship, and teach you some coping strategies. You will be able to use when upsetting memories arise.

  1. Assessment

The therapist will identify the traumatic memories you need to focus on and ask you to:

  • Choose an image that accompanies this memory
  • Identify a negative belief about yourself
  • Recognize related emotions and physical sensations related to that memory

They will also ask you to identify positive beliefs about yourself.

  1. Desensitization

In this stage, the EMDR therapist uses desensitization to reduce your disturbing emotional and physical reactions to traumatic memories. During desensitization, the EMDR therapist will instruct you to recall painful memories. At the same time, you will move your eyes from side to side (they can ask you to follow their finger).

  1. Installation

The focus of this stage is strengthening the positive beliefs you identified in the assessment stage.

  1. Body Scan

The body scan is a meditative technique. During this, your therapist will instruct you to scan your body from head to toe. By doing so, you can identify any residual negative physical sensations. By doing so, they can target them for further processing.

  1. Closure

Each EMDR therapy session ends with this stage. During this phase, you will discuss the thoughts and feelings that arose during the session. Your therapist will remind you of the coping strategies you learned in stage two. They may also give you homework, asking you to keep track of your experiences.

  1. Reevaluation

You will discuss the effectiveness of the treatment with the therapist at the beginning of each new EMDR therapy session.


A woman sits covering her face on a bed, representing the pain EMDR therapy in Seattle, WA can address. Learn more about online EMDR in Seattle, WA by contacting an EMDR therapist in Seattle, WA today.

What Can EMDR Therapy Treat?

EDMR therapy was first developed to treat PTSD symptoms. But, EMDR has been used to treat various other conditions such as:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Addiction
  • Panic attacks
  • Phobias
  • ADHD
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Chronic pain
  • Grief


An older couple smiles as they enjoy coffee together. EMDR therapy in Seattle, WA can offer support with overcoming past trauma. Learn more about the comfort online EMDR in Seattle, WA offers by contacting an EMDR therapist in Seattle, WA.

What are the Benefits of EMDR?

Many clients report that EMDR therapy helped them achieve calmness and self-control. Thus, enabling them to integrate the traumatic experience into their current life context.

EMDR therapy can help you:

  • Identify and change negative thoughts invading your mind
  • Alleviate PTSD symptoms
  • Relieve emotional and physical distress
  • Feel more relaxed
  • Improve your sleep patterns
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Improve concentration and focus



EMDR is an empirically validated trauma treatment that can help you develop strategies to address traumatic memories and come to terms with the experience.

But, the benefits of EMDR therapy go far beyond trauma resolution. EMDR can help you replace negative thoughts and feelings with positive ones. An EMDR therapist can equip you with coping strategies, encourage personal growth, and improve your overall well-being.


Begin EMDR Therapy in Seattle, WA

Overcoming past trauma is much easier said than done. But, I would be honored to support you in coping with the past in a more healthy way. If you are ready to start your therapy journey from my Seattle, WA-based therapy practice, follow these simple steps:
  1. Contact Inner Wisdom
  2. Meet with a caring therapist
  3. Start coping with trauma using your own eye movements!


Other Services Offered at Inner Wisdom Coaching & Counseling

EMDR therapy isn’t the only service provided by my Seattle, WA-based therapy practice. I offer a variety of services via online therapy in Seattle, WA, and across Washington. Other mental health services offered include life transitions therapy, emotional support therapy, depression treatment, and LGBTQIA+ therapy. I’m also happy to offer life coaching across the country. Feel free to learn more by visiting my blog or testimonials page today!




  1. Jennifer Teed

    You can do EMDR remotely?

    • Jaime Cara

      Hi Jennifer, yes you can! It works well online.


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