What is EMDR?

EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, in which traumatic or upsetting events are reprocessed mentally, emotionally, and physically.


There are many different forms of therapy, but I am a huge proponent of EMDR Therapy. Why? Because it changed my life in miraculous ways… almost immediately. If you have been in therapy for years, with no significant results, I encourage you to find a new therapist, preferably one who is proficient in EMDR. You can find a therapist in your area at the EMDR International Association.

How does EMDR work?

Although abundant research has been conducted to unravel how EMDR works, there are no conclusive answers. For detailed information and research studies you can visit the EMDR International Association.

One theory is that EMDR works by reprocessing mental and emotional difficulties through mimicking the eye movements that occur during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Researchers suggest that the eye movements that occur while dreaming activate our body’s natural healing mechanism, which automatically processes and integrates upsetting experiences.

Another theory is that EMDR works by connecting the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This connection stimulates communication between the rational part of the brain (left hemisphere) and the emotional, creative, and intuitive part of the brain (right hemisphere), where memories of traumatic experiences are often stored. Communication between the two sides of the brain may help unblock memories allowing us to reprocess the event in a healthy way, thereby integrating the trauma with a more rational, present-day perspective of the trauma.

After EMDR comes RDI

RDI is an acronym for Resource Development and Installation. In this phase of therapy, we strengthen and integrate a positive self-image and concentrate on a healthy, optimistic future. RDI focuses exclusively on brain connections linked to positive and functional resources.

RDI utilizes relaxation techniques, positive self-statements (affirmations), and rich, inspiring images and symbols. This stage is FUN, and continues to help reprocess the trauma by giving your brain new information, associations, and perspectives.

I see this phase of EMDR as a time for dreaming and imagining ourselves in the life we want to live if we could be, have, or do anything our hearts desire.

What you might look forward to from successful EMDR therapy:

• The ability to distinguish present reality from past experiences.
• An increased capacity to make self-supportive choices.
• The awareness to recognize and set healthy, self-sustaining boundaries.
• Feeling a greater sense of safety and well-being in the present.
• An ability and willingness to be more flexible and adapt to change more easily.
• Greater ease in creating new, healthy habits, patterns, and a more positive perspective.
• Regained/increased capacity to Love and Care for yourself and others.
• Reduced frequency of symptoms.
• A greater appreciation for life.
• Lessened response to triggers.
• Seeing yourself as a survivor and a winner instead of a victim.
• A cultivation of greater compassion and empathy for those who suffer.
• Using the energy of anger and grief in positive ways.
• A happier, more fulfilling, meaningful, and enjoyable experience of life.
• Increased strength, confidence, self-esteem, and empowerment.
• And other rewards/wins/successes perhaps unique to you!