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What to expect in an EMDR Session

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a psychotherapy approach that has been successfully used to treat people who suffer from panic attacks, anxiety, PTSD, and other emotional issues. Before EMDR, these issues would be treated through cognitive behavioral therapy alone. While this treatment can be successful, it often takes many, many sessions for maximum relief.

EMDR Therapy is a breakthrough modality because it can bring quick and lasting relief from a variety of emotional distress.

Relief from Emotional Distress

When we experience trauma, the natural coping capacity of our brain becomes overwhelmed and we experience the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Through EMDR therapy, people can reprocess traumatic information until it is no longer psychologically disturbing to them or disruptive to their lives.

Bilateral Stimulation

While EMDR will use an integrative approach to therapy, it also focuses on some unique techniques. In particular, the client will perform a series of lateral eye movements while, at the same time, focusing on various aspects of the traumatic memory.

These left-right eye movements form a “bilateral stimulation. The therapist may use other bilateral stimulations including alternating bilateral sound using headphones and alternating tactile simulation using a handheld device that vibrates or taps to the back of the patient’s hands.

It is understood that EMDR induces a fundamental change in the circuitry of the brain, similar to what happens during REM sleep. This helps people integrate and understand memories within a larger context of their own life experiences.

EMDR Therapy at Creating Space Therapy in Batavia, Illinois
Bilateral stimulation allows for memory integration and healing.

EMDR Addresses Self-Limiting Negative Self-Beliefs

But EMDR is more than a set of techniques. It is a way for all people to understand their own human potential. Beyond the reprocessing of traumatic events, EMDR also allows individuals a glimpse of any limiting false beliefs they may be holding onto, such as “I’m not good enough.”

In this way, the therapy not only helps people move through big, traumatic events in their past but also smaller chronic ones that color their perception of themselves and their world. This can ultimately lead to significant positive change in their lives.

Contact Us

Learn more about our EMDR Therapy and EMDR Intensive programs here. If you or someone you know would benefit from and is interested in exploring EMDR therapy, please contact us. We would be happy to discuss how this treatment may help.


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