What Is EMDR And What Does It Treat?









EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. The technique was developed out of a need to treat anxiety and trauma. Most people will experience some form of trauma in their lifetime. Trauma is generally defined as any experience which is deeply distressing or disturbing. When trauma first became a topic in mental health, it was purely associated with post traumatic stress disorder, which was thought to be exclusive to people who experienced extreme violence, like veterans of war. Veterans were coming home from war deeply mentally disturbed, experiencing flashbacks, depression, anxiety, hyperarousal, and a demonstrated inability to cope with returning to civilian life. Unable to self-soothe, stay attached to reality, and cope with the past, medical and psychological doctors were confounded by their condition. Only a small percentage of people will experience trauma in the same way that veterans of war do. Trauma can happen in different forms from different perspectives. Though most people will experience trauma, few will experience the full development of PTSD.

One researcher discovered that moving her eyes behind closed eyelids helped her find some peace and relaxation in the middle of a trauma fueled attack. Thus, the technology was born.

For the complicated and complex disorder of PTSD, EMDR has been scientifically proven to work in reducing the symptoms and severity of PTSD. By using cross-lateral eye movements and binaural recordings, the brain is able to create balance and reprocess traumatic events. The effects of PTSD and any kind of trauma create blockages in the brain which are meant to protect an individual from the full breadth of the traumatic experience. Unfortunately, those blockages create other problems and don’t allow the brain to function normally. EMDR works to heal those blockages and the difficult memories associated with the trauma.

Anyone can benefit from trauma treatment. Working through difficult memories from the past is something many people have difficulty in doing.


Surviving trauma is hard. Continuing to live coping with trauma is also hard. You are not alone in this struggle. Harmony Place offers residential treatment programs serving dual diagnosis trauma and substance use disorders along a full continuum of care. For a private assessment and more information, call us today at: 1-855-652-9048.