Several therapeutic approaches are available for treating trauma. Two notable methods are Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories (RTM) therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Both therapies aim to alleviate the symptoms of trauma, but they utilize different techniques and underlying mechanisms. Learn more about the similarities and differences between RTM therapy vs. EMDR to understand which might be the right fit for you or a loved one.

What is RTM Therapy?

RTM therapy is a relatively new approach that focuses on altering how traumatic memories are stored in the brain. The goal is to change the emotional response to these memories without requiring the individual to relive the traumatic experience in detail. Instead, RTM uses guided visualization techniques to help patients reprocess their memory in a way that reduces its emotional impact.

What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is a well-established method developed by Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s. It involves a structured approach that includes recalling distressing memories while simultaneously undergoing bilateral stimulation, usually through eye movements. This process helps reprocess the traumatic memories, reducing their emotional charge and promoting psychological healing.

Key Components and Techniques

RTM Therapy Techniques

  • Guided Visualization: Patients visualize the traumatic event from a detached perspective, often as if watching a movie. This detachment helps reduce the emotional intensity associated with the memory.
  • Memory Reconsolidation: During the visualization process, the therapist guides the patient to alter the details of the traumatic memory. The process can change the emotional response when recalling the memory in the future.


RTM aims to minimize emotional distress during sessions by avoiding direct and detailed recounting of the trauma.

EMDR Therapy Techniques

Bilateral Stimulation

Eye movements, tapping, or auditory tones stimulate both hemispheres of the brain while the patient recalls traumatic memories. This bilateral stimulation is a core component of EMDR.

Eight-Phase Protocol

EMDR follows a structured approach. Treatment includes history taking, preparation, assessment, desensitization, installation, body scan, closure, and reevaluation.


Patients repeatedly focus on the traumatic memory while undergoing bilateral stimulation until the distress associated with the memory decreases.

Benefits and Effectiveness

RTM Therapy Benefits

  • Rapid Results: RTM therapy often shows significant results in shorter periods than other therapies.
  • Reduced Distress During Sessions: Because RTM does not require detailed recounting of the traumatic event, patients may experience less distress during the therapy process.
  • Focus on Memory Reconsolidation: RTM specifically targets how traumatic memories are stored and retrieved, providing long-lasting changes in emotional responses.

EMDR Therapy Benefits

  • Well-Researched: EMDR is supported by a substantial body of research demonstrating its effectiveness in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other trauma-related conditions.
  • Comprehensive Approach: The eight-phase protocol ensures a thorough treatment process addressing various aspects of trauma.
  • Bilateral Stimulation: The unique element of bilateral stimulation facilitates the processing of traumatic memories and reduces symptoms.

Considerations and Choosing RTM Therapy vs. EMDR

RTM Therapy Considerations

While initial results are promising, RTM therapy does not yet have as extensive a research base as EMDR.

EMDR Therapy Considerations

Some patients may find the process of repeatedly focusing on traumatic memories distressing, especially in the initial stages. EMDR therapy can require multiple sessions to achieve significant results, which may be a consideration for those seeking rapid relief.

Selecting a Treatment Plan

Both treatments offer practical methods for treating trauma, each with strengths and considerations. RTM provides a non-intrusive, rapid approach focusing on memory reconsolidation through guided visualization. EMDR offers a well-researched, structured method using bilateral stimulation to reprocess traumatic memories.

Choosing the right therapy, whether RTM therapy vs. EMDR, depends on individual needs, preferences, and the specific nature of the trauma. Consulting a knowledgeable mental health professional can help determine the best approach for achieving healing and recovery. Whether through RTM, EMDR, or another therapeutic method, taking steps toward addressing trauma is a crucial part of the journey to better mental health. At Comprehensive Wellness Centers in Lantana, Florida, we offer both treatment methods, and our staff can help you choose the proper technique to serve your needs best.