How is EMDR Different from Other Therapies?

Sep 12, 2019 | Mno Bmadzewen

Information about an exciting treatment approach from the Behavioral Health Team

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in the 1990s. EMDR is practiced in over 30 countries and is endorsed by the World Health Organization. In fact, it has been the subject of more than 40 randomized controlled trials. It is an evidence-based practice to treat trauma, approved by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

It is very common to have experienced a traumatic event that continues to affect your relationships, your sleep habits, your general well-being and the way you think about yourself. All therapy aims to provide a safe space to recover from trauma, but in EMDR you substitute talking about past difficult experiences with  making eye movements back and forth that help the traumatic memory no longer hold the same “emotional charge” or power over you it once did. To get a better idea of what this means, do a quick YouTube search for EMDR to see the eye movements being demonstrated.

EMDR works by focusing on how past trauma manifests in the body. The experience of reprocessing through eye movements feels like pain being freed from the body. Even among people who have experienced many traumatic events, EMDR can sometimes work very quickly in a number of sessions rather than going to therapy for years. There is also no therapy “homework” for in between sessions.

If you think EMDR may be helpful for you or a family member, feel free to contact the Grand Rapids Behavioral Health Clinician for more information!

Cassie J. Cleary, LMSW, IMH-E(I), CTP, ADS
Behavioral Health Clinician


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