EMDR Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy near me and cbt near me

What is EMDR? Understanding Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

In the area of psychological therapies, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) stands as a unique, evidence based approach for treating trauma and distressing memories. Developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Francine Shapiro, EMDR has garnered significant attention and validation for its efficacy in alleviating the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and other emotional disorders.

The Essence of EMDR

Imagine your mind as a library, where each book represents a memory. Traumatic experiences can sometimes cause these memory-books to be disorganized, misplaced, or even damaged, making it difficult to access or process them healthily. EMDR functions like the librarian, helping to re-shelve and restore these books to their rightful places, allowing for a more orderly and coherent mental archive.

EMDR operates on an eight-phase protocol that guides patients through the identification and reprocessing of traumatic memories. The phases include:

  1. History Taking: Gathering comprehensive information about the patient’s history and determining specific targets for EMDR.
  2. Preparation: Educating the patient about EMDR and establishing a sense of safety and trust.
  3. Assessment: Identifying the vivid visual image related to the memory, negative beliefs, and physical sensations.
  4. Desensitization: Processing the distressing memory through bilateral stimulation, typically involving guided eye movements.
  5. Installation: Strengthening positive beliefs that replace the negative ones.
  6. Body Scan: Ensuring any residual physical tension related to the memory is resolved.
  7. Closure: Stabilizing the patient and ensuring they leave each session feeling better.
  8. Reevaluation: Reviewing the progress and ensuring the positive changes are maintained.

The Science Behind EMDR

The core mechanism of EMDR involves bilateral stimulation, which can include eye movements, taps, or auditory tones. This bilateral stimulation is believed to facilitate the brain’s ability to process and integrate traumatic memories. Neurobiological research suggests that EMDR may activate the same mechanisms as Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which is essential for emotional processing and memory consolidation. This connection to REM sleep highlights EMDR’s potential in transforming traumatic memories from disruptive, distressing experiences into coherent, non-threatening memories.

The Efficacy of EMDR

Numerous studies and clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of EMDR. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Psychological Association (APA), EMDR is recognized as an evidence-based treatment for PTSD. Research has shown that EMDR can lead to significant reductions in PTSD symptoms in fewer sessions compared to traditional talk therapy.

The transformative power of EMDR is not limited to PTSD. It has been effectively used to treat a wide range of psychological issues, including:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Phobias
  • Chronic pain
  • Addictions
  • Complicated grief


EMDR is more than just a therapeutic technique; it is a groundbreaking therapy that has transformed the treatment of trauma. By reprocessing traumatic memories, patients often experience profound shifts in their emotional well-being and cognitive understanding. The previously overwhelming memories lose their power, becoming integrated into the person’s life  in a way that no longer controls their present and future. We are thrilled to offer EMDR therapy here at Peace Behavioral Health with our compassionate and highly skilled EMDR therapist Alix Buckvar. Reach out today to learn more. 


Contact us to schedule an in-Person or telehealth appointment

Contact us at Office@peaceBH.com or call us: 

Miami, Florida Office: 305-600-3182,

Saco, Maine Office 207-200-4789

We will provide you with a link to your patient portal where you can view your next appointment, view billing, fill out rating scales, as well as complete intake forms. Your patient portal also provides a HIPAA compliant portal to communicate with your doctor(s).