Eye Movement Desensitization Therapy (EMDR)


EMDR has had its and continues to have its fair share of skeptics. With any therapeutic approach, it is necessary to have a healthy skepticism, and a critical mind to evaluate the efficacy of an approach.

Having taken the Level 1 training, understanding the mechanisms underlying EMDR, read some of the research, as well as having seen it work for many clients, I see its efficacy for Traumatic incidents.

What is involved in EMDR Protocol

1) Exposure to the initial traumatic event, is an essential element of the Protocol of EMDR, this is discussed openly with the client.

2) Identifying the Belief (cognition) that one holds about oneself (often negative), due to that incident

3) Work with the client to develop a more adaptive (positive) cognition

4) Measure the strength of the positive cognition

5) Allow the client to recall the past, while remaining grounded in their body in the present, speaking to their changing experience.

6) Facilitation of remaining in the present, is accomplished through eye movements or, in my clinic, the use of Theratappers (mechanism, that an individual olds in their hands, that vibrates in an alternating pattern).

7) Continue to process any unresolved traumatic material, moving the client ever closer to adopting the more adaptive cognition.

There are many theories on how/why the eye movements/theratappers assist with processing material. My theory coming from a mindfulness background, that it is a mechanism that allows formation of new memories, more grounded in the present, as the past material is recalled. We know that each time a memory is recalled it is malleable...this is particularly true if we can access all the different mechanisms, that were operating within the individual at that time, ie.thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, sights, sounds, etc.  There are many different therapeutic approaches that offer this same mechanism of action ie.CBT and Exposure based therapy.

I hope that clients and colleagues will find this information helpful, feel free to call or write with any thoughts/comments.