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Is EMDR right for me?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of psychotherapy used to treat individuals with distress associated with past disturbing memories. Many therapists, such as myself, often refer to this distress as “yuck.” This yuck can manifest itself into negative self-beliefs such as I am defective, I am bad, or I am unworthy. These negative self-beliefs can translate into undesirable behaviors like lashing out at others or being unable to regulate your emotions. That being said, the trauma that we experience can trick down into different aspects of our lives.

The truth is that we react to trauma in different ways. Whether it gives us strength to guide us into the future or instead, gives us this weird feeling we can’t seem to shake off. EMDR therapy is successful in helping and treating both of these scenarios. With EMDR, we process the memory as well as the disturbance within the memory. You, as the client, is left feeling not only relief, but you can confidently replace the negative belief with a more adaptative one such as I am whole, I am capable, I am worthy.

It is important to note EMDR therapy is different from talk therapy. First, EMDR places a stronger emphasis on “processing” verses actual discussion between the therapist and client. Second, EMDR treatment is generally faster compared to talk therapy. Randomized controlled trials along with other studies have shown EMDR to be more rapid than trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (Shapiro, 2014). Lastly, EMDR addresses the core pieces of the trauma rather than merely treating the symptoms of trauma by directly targeting the memory each session.

If you’ve tried talk therapy, but you are still left with that same “yuck,” then EMDR could be the missing piece to the puzzle.


Shapiro F. (2014). The role of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in medicine: addressing the psychological and physical symptoms stemming from adverse life experiences. The Permanente journal18(1), 71–77.

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