EMDR is an evidence based therapy approach that has been effective in treating a number of psychological disorders including (but not limited to) PTSD and trauma related disorders, anxiety, phobias, substance use, behavioral addictions, depression, pain and chronic illnesses, and dissociative disorders. It can be used for all ages and clients of all backgrounds.
EMDR is thought to help an individual reach an adaptive understanding of their memories. Some theories believe this is achieved by evoking similar brain patterns to REM sleep; a time when we process information and consolidate memory. It is also thought to work by helping a person process a disturbing experience in a healthy and adaptive healing process rather than keeping a person stuck in a stress response to the event.
EMDR may be a preferred form of therapy for some clients. It does not require a person to talk in detail about their trauma, thus reducing re-experiencing and avoidance symptoms associated with PTSD. It may also reduce client drop out in therapy. This form of therapy may also help a person process trauma stored in the body, whereas other forms of therapy may focus on the cognitive aspect of healing trauma.
This form of therapy can offer relief quickly for some clients but may take time to fully address all trauma for others. A proficient EMDR provider can offer this form of therapy in different ways, for example by addressing acute symptomology to processing complex trauma across a person’s life. Due to this it is difficult to put a timeline on how long a person would need EMDR therapy.