How EMDR Helps Trauma Survivors

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, about 12 million adults have PTSD in the United States. That’s 6% of the population. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy is a powerful tool for healing trauma. It’s been effective for people worldwide to recover from traumatic experiences and get their lives back on track. If you’re looking for a way to heal from trauma, EMDR may be the answer. With this therapy, you can finally move on from the past and start living the life you deserve. Keep reading to learn more about how EMDR therapy can help trauma survivors.

How EMDR Can Help Trauma Survivors Heal Their Emotional Wounds

EMDR is based on the principle that our brains can process information more effectively when in a state of physiologic arousal. When we experience trauma, our brains can get stuck in a state of hyperarousal, which can prevent us from processing and healing from the experience. EMDR can help to jumpstart the healing process by stimulating the brain in a way that allows it to begin processing the trauma.

What Is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is a type of trauma therapy that can help people to process and heal from traumatic experiences. EMDR treatment works by helping to desensitize the individual to the trauma memories and feelings and by reprocessing the memories so that they are no longer as upsetting.

When we experience a traumatic event, our brains sometimes get “stuck” on the trauma and cannot process it healthily. Getting “stuck” can lead to symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), such as intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, avoidance/numbing symptoms, and hyperarousal. 

How Does EMDR Work?

EMDR therapy works by helping to “unstick” the brain and allow it to process the trauma more healthily. Therapists may use various techniques, but eye movement is one of the most important. A trained therapist should always conduct EMDR for PTSD. They’ll help you focus on the memories and emotions associated with the trauma while stimulating your brain with eye movements, sounds, or taps. The goal of EMDR is to help you process the trauma in a less distressing way. 

During EMDR therapy for trauma, the therapist will help the patient focus on a specific memory or thought related to the trauma while guiding their eyes in a back-and-forth movement. It is believed to help the brain process memory more efficiently.

Other techniques that therapists may use in EMDR are as follows:

  • Tapping on the client’s hands or knees
  • Auditory stimulation (through headphones)
  • Bilateral visual stimulation (through eye movements, hand movements, or LEDs)

EMDR therapy is also helpful in treating similar or coexisting conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

The Benefits of EMDR Therapy for Trauma Survivors

Trauma EMDR is an effective treatment for PTSD and other trauma-related disorders. It’s so effective that the American Psychiatric Association considers it one of the “gold standard” treatments for PTSD. Some of the specific benefits of EMDR therapy include:

  • Relief from symptoms of PTSD and other trauma-related disorders
  • Reduced anxiety and depression
  • Improved coping skills
  • Increased self-esteem and confidence
  • Greater insight into the causes of your problems
  • Improved physical health
  • Greater satisfaction with life
  • Reduced negative emotions associated with the trauma (such as shame, guilt, and fear)

If you’re struggling to heal from a traumatic experience, EMDR therapy could be the answer. 

Does EMDR Help Complex PTSD?

Complex PTSD is caused by long-term exposure to traumatic events, such as child abuse, domestic violence, or war. While EMDR treats PTSD, it is also an effective treatment for complex PTSD. A recent study found that EMDR therapy was more effective than other trauma therapy (cognitive processing therapy) in treating complex PTSD.

How Long Does It Take To See Benefits From EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is a brief treatment, and most people only need a few sessions to see significant improvement. Many people report feeling better after just a few sessions of EMDR. The number of sessions you’ll need will depend on several factors, such as the severity of your symptoms, the length of time you’ve been struggling, and your goals for treatment. If you’re considering EMDR therapy, talk to a trained therapist to find out if it’s right for you. 

What Are The Risks Of EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is a safe and effective treatment for PTSD and other trauma-related disorders. Since it is a therapy that involves talking about traumatic events, there is a risk that you could experience some distress during or after treatment. That means you may feel worse before feeling better. Therapy can sometimes trigger negative emotions or memories, so those have to be addressed before you can move on. Negative or sad feelings are usually temporary, and your therapist will help you process them safely and effectively. Overall, EMDR therapy is a safe and effective treatment for PTSD and other trauma-related disorders. 

How to Find a Therapist Who Offers EMDR Therapy

Healing trauma takes time and effort, but it is possible to recover and lead a healthy, happy life. If you’re struggling with complex PTSD, EMDR could help reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life. When you’re ready to take the first step on your journey to recovery, talk to your doctor or mental health professional about EMDR therapy.

Our Comprehensive Wellness Centers in Lantana, FL, offer EMDR therapy and are here to help you on your journey to wellness. Please contact us today for more information about how EMDR can help trauma survivors. We offer a free consultation to all new clients. Call toll-free today at (855) 844-0592 to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment

Medically Reviewed: September 27, 2022

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer | CWC Recovery Staff

Clinical Team

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Content on this page has been reviewed by CWC Medical Staff for accuracy.


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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