EMDR and Trauma


By Judith Asner

EMDR and Trauma

By: Andy Gear, LPC, EMDR Trained Therapist

What is EMDR? 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based treatment for trauma. More than 27 studies (since 1989) have demonstrated EMDR’s effectiveness in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Department of Defense, Department of Veteran Affairs, American Psychiatric Association, and the World Health Organization all recommend this treatment.

What are signs of Post-Traumatic Stress?  

  • Feel like you are reliving the event, have intrusive thoughts, memories, nightmares, or flashbacks.
  • Physical reactions to reminders of the event.
  • Avoid thoughts, feelings, people, places, reminders of the trauma, or can’t remember parts of it.
  • Feel detached, isolated, less emotion or interest in once pleasurable activities.
  • Problems with sleep, irritability, anger, concentration, hyper-vigilance, or are easily startled.

How does this happen?

PTSD occurs when a disturbing event overwhelms our brain in such a way that we are unable to effectively process it. This prevents us from being able to heal from the disturbing memory as we usually would. These memories do not properly fade into the background, but continue to impact us—most noticeably when we are faced with reminders of the event.

How does EMDR help? 

EMDR allows these memories to be processed effectively. By stimulating both sides of the brain (through eye movement, tapping, or sound), we are able to successfully reprocess the event. This allows the impact of disturbing memories to fade, so that we are no longer triggered and begin to feel safe once more.

For more information about EMDR or to set up an appointment, please contact Andy Gear, LPC, EMDR Trained Therapist at [email protected].