What is EMDR and Should I Use it?

Introduction to EMDR

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a unique form of psychotherapy designed to alleviate distress associated with traumatic memories. Developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s, EMDR has gained recognition for its effectiveness in treating trauma-related conditions and other mental health issues. If you've heard about EMDR and are curious about how it works, this blog will provide you with a comprehensive understanding.

The History of EMDR

EMDR was discovered somewhat by accident when Dr. Shapiro noticed that her own distressing thoughts diminished when her eyes moved rapidly from side to side. Intrigued by this phenomenon, she conducted further research and developed a structured therapeutic approach. Over the years, EMDR has evolved through extensive clinical studies and is now an evidence-based treatment widely used by mental health professionals.

How EMDR Works

EMDR therapy involves recalling traumatic memories while simultaneously focusing on an external stimulus, typically guided eye movements. This dual attention process helps to reprocess the traumatic memory, reducing its emotional charge and enabling the individual to integrate the experience in a healthier way. The therapy consists of eight phases, including history-taking, preparation, assessment, desensitization, installation, body scan, closure, and reevaluation.

Benefits of EMDR

One of the primary benefits of EMDR is its ability to provide rapid relief from symptoms associated with trauma and other mental health conditions. Clients often experience a significant reduction in distressing memories, anxiety, and negative beliefs about themselves. EMDR can also lead to improved emotional regulation, enhanced self-esteem, and better overall mental health.

Who Can Benefit from EMDR

EMDR is not only effective for individuals with trauma and PTSD but also for those struggling with anxiety, depression, phobias, and other emotional difficulties. It can be particularly beneficial for people who have not responded well to traditional talk therapies. If you're dealing with unresolved trauma, chronic stress, or other psychological issues, EMDR might be a suitable option for you.


EMDR is a powerful therapeutic approach that has transformed the lives of many individuals struggling with trauma and other mental health issues. By understanding what EMDR is and how it works, you can make an informed decision about whether this therapy might be right for you. The Well is proud to have several providers who are trained in the use of this powerful technique and we would be happy to help you determine if this is the right tool for you. Reach out to us at 317-471-8996 or intake@thewellcounselinggroup.com for more information.