EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) in Trauma Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) in Trauma Therapy

Trauma occurs when you experience something extremely stressful, frightening, or harmful that is difficult to cope with. According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, 70% of U.S. adults have experienced some type of trauma in their lives.[1]

When someone deals with trauma, they will require extensive treatment to recover. While there are many therapies available that can treat trauma and its lasting effects, one breakthrough method is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

EMDR is a type of trauma therapy that encourages a person to briefly focus on a traumatic memory while receiving bilateral stimulation (eye movements). As a result, the vividness and emotion associated with the trauma is reduced significantly.[2]

What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of therapy that was created in 1987 to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).[2] PTSD is a condition that develops after someone experiences significant trauma, causing symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, mood swings, and more.

EMDR uses the adaptive information processing model, which “hypothesizes that maladaptively stored memories of trauma create obstacles to rational processing of information.”[3]

To conduct EMDR, a therapist will have their client process a traumatic memory while they are bilaterally stimulating them, which means they are being shown images that cause specific eye movements. As a result of doing so, the lasting emotional effects attached to the traumatic memory are reduced.

How Does EMDR Help You Recover From Trauma?

While EMDR helps people recover from a wide range of conditions, it is specifically beneficial as a form of trauma therapy. Because it does not require you to talk in detail about your trauma, it can be easier than other types of recovery methods for trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, EMDR retrains your brain to respond to memories of trauma, causing real physical recovery on top of your emotional progress.

EMDR helps you recover from trauma using the following methods:

Adaptive Information Processing

EMDR is based on the adaptive information processing theory, which believes that the way trauma is stored in your brain causes obstacles in healing.

For example, during a normal event, your brain will store the memory smoothly. For traumatic events, the networking does not happen properly, leading to a disconnect that does not allow your brain to heal.

EMDR is designed to repair the way these memories are stored, lessening the negative symptoms you experience concerning your trauma.


When you experience something traumatic, your brain will begin to associate certain people, places, and things with that event. Coming in contact with those triggers will elicit emotional, physical, and even behavioral responses which can result in negative symptoms like anxiety, panic, paranoia, or depression.

EMDR uses bilateral stimulation to rewire your brain, causing some of these triggers to be reduced or completely resolved.

Repairing Mental Injury

Trauma leaves lasting injuries on the brain, causing a wide range of negative symptoms. During EMDR, bilateral stimulation and eye movements are used while you recall your traumatic memories to repair the injuries that are left behind. As a result, remembering your trauma will no longer feel like you are going through it all over again, and you’ll be able to process it more healthily. Additionally, the lasting symptoms you experience will become more manageable.

What are the Benefits of EMDR for Trauma Recovery?

There are several advantages to using EMDR as a trauma therapy, including:

  • Lessened emotional and behavioral symptoms associated with traumatic memories
  • Faster results when compared with other types of trauma therapy
  • Reduction in post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms
  • Less homework is required than in other types of trauma therapy
  • You are not required to go into full detail about traumatic experiences, making it less stressful or emotionally taxing
  • High success rates for trauma and related mental health conditions

If you struggle with the lasting effects of trauma or mental health conditions related to trauma like PTSD, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy might be right for you.

Get Connected to EMDR Therapy for Trauma

If you or a loved one has a history of trauma and experiences lasting symptoms, it’s time to consider professional help. Whether you have post-traumatic stress disorder or simply cannot stop reliving the traumatic event you experienced, EMDR can help you recover.

To learn more about healing from trauma and the treatment options available, please contact Florida Recovery Group today.


  1. The National Council for Behavioral Health: How to Manage Trauma, Retrieved January 2024 From https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Trauma-infographic.pdf
  2. The American Psychological Association (APA): Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy, Retrieved January 2024 From https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/treatments/eye-movement-reprocessing
  3. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Adaptive Information Processing Theory: Origins, Principles, Applications, and Evidence, Retrieved January 2024 From https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32420834/