EMDR Trauma Therapy

Counseling services in Ft Myers

What is EMDR and How Does It Work?


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a comprehensive psychotherapy that uses two-sided stimulation to help clients deal with and recover from past events that cause emotional distress and affect their mental health.

Francine Shapiro, an American psychologist and educator, developed the idea of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing in 1987. She had noticed that moving her eyes from side to side seemed to lessen the effect of the painful memories, thoughts, and feelings they caused.

What is EMDR?


EMDR is a structured therapy, based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). It effectively treats the symptoms of different mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.

During an EMDR session, you will be instructed to think about upsetting memories while making specific eye movements simultaneously.

EMDR therapy is best known for its effectiveness in reducing the symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. However, over the past few years, EMDR has also been used to treat many other mental health issues.

Is EMDR Evidence-Based?


EMDR research shows that three 90-minute EMDR sessions are enough to relieve the symptoms of PTSD in 84% to 90% of people who have been through a single traumatic event.

Another study found that after six sessions of EMDR lasting 50 minutes each, 100% survivors of single-trauma and 77% of multiple-trauma victims no longer suffered symptoms of PTSD.

What Can EMDR Therapy Treat?


Although EMDR therapy was created to address trauma and the symptoms of PTSD, it now treats a variety of mental health and physical concerns, such as:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Phobias
  • Panic attacks
  • Stress caused by chronic disease

    EMDR Therapy

  • Self-esteem issues                                                                                                                               
  • Depression
  • Mourning and grief
  • Substance use disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Sexual dysfunction

EMDR Therapy for Trauma


Trauma is a mental, emotional, physical, and behavioral response to a traumatic event that goes beyond a person's everyday experience and ability to cope. If you don't address it, your traumatic experience can lead to a post-traumatic stress disorder, disrupting your life and affecting your mental health and well-being.

Whether it is childhood trauma, losing a loved one, a natural disaster, divorce, or your partner's infidelity that you cannot get over, EMDR might help reduce and get rid of trauma symptoms.

EMDR therapy might be a good fit if you struggle with the following:

  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Memories of a traumatic event
  • Sleep problems
  • Nightmares
  • Reliving trauma in flashbacks
  • Avoidance behaviors
  • Excessive guilt and shame
  • Automatic negative thoughts
  • Anxiety and depression

In your EMDR sessions, you may learn how to recall the traumatic event without feeling upset.

How Does EMDR Therapy for Trauma Work?


Instead of the traumatic experience, EMDR treatment focuses on unsettling thoughts and feelings. Therefore, in your EMDR sessions, you will not have to have to discuss specific parts of the traumatic event.

Instead, your therapist will instruct you to think about the traumatic event and upsetting thoughts and feelings that this experience has brought up while giving you bilateral stimulation.

Two-sided stimulation can include:

  • Moving your eyes side to side.
  • Tapping or vibrations on the sides of your body.
  • Tones sent to both ears through headphones.

The goal of EMDR is to facilitate a client's ability to recognize and work through distressing thoughts and feelings until they can perceive traumatic events as being less upsetting.

Click here to view Anabelle Perez who is trained in EMDR Therapy.



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