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How EMDR Therapy Can Help You Overcome PTSD and Reclaim Control of Your Life

How EMDR Therapy Can Help You Overcome PTSD and Reclaim Control of Your Life

If you’ve suffered a traumatic experience of any kind and are having difficulties coping with disturbing memories or painful emotions, feeling safe, reconnecting with other people, or moving forward in your life, you may be struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

I know just how debilitating these feelings can be, both for your relationships and for your life … I’ve been there.

I also know that help is available!

What Is PTSD?

A traumatic event is an extraordinarily stressful circumstance that shatters your sense of security or identity and causes you to feel vulnerable or helpless.

While traumatic events commonly involve a threat to one’s safety, any event that causes you to feel overwhelmed can be traumatic, even if no physical harm is involved. For example, bullying, emotional abuse, a relationship breakup, or the loss of a loved one can all be just as traumatic as being the victim of a violent crime, a car accident, or a natural disaster.

It’s perfectly normal to feel disconnected, anxious, sad, or frightened immediately after a traumatic experience.

Recovering from trauma takes time, and each individual heals at his or her own pace.

Typically, as time passes, the emotional, physical, and psychological shock caused by trauma often subsides, providing you the space you need to process your emotions, make sense of what happened, and begin to move forward again.

However, it’s not uncommon for people to become so overwhelmed by traumatic events that they remain “stuck” in a state of psychological shock. The intense feelings of anxiety, confusion, detachment, depression, hopelessness, and fear seem never-ending. And it is these overwhelming thoughts and emotions long after the actual traumatic event has occurred that are commonly referred to as PTSD.

PTSD can feel insurmountable. You likely feel you’ll never be able to fully recover from the trauma you’ve experienced, but …

You can recover from PTSD and move forward again in your relationships and your life … and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can help.

Why EMDR Is One of the Most Effective Treatments for PTSD

Attempting to avoid painful feelings and memories is perfectly normal. However, doing so only gives those memories and emotions more power, making PTSD even worse.

Rather than trying to dissociate from or ignore your feelings, which we can never really do successfully, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can help you reduce the power of your traumatic memories, so you can actually work through your feelings.

The use of EMDR therapy has grown rapidly among clinicians since psychologist Francine Shapiro first developed the technique in 1989 … And, this is especially true when it comes to its use in the treatment of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

While some mental health professionals disagree about just how EMDR works, whether or not it’s effective, and just how effective it can be, EMDR has become not only one of the most well-researched psychotherapy treatments for trauma, but also one of the most efficient and efficacious.

In fact, over 37 studies have shown EMDR therapy to be significantly more effective than other treatments in helping people cope with, and overcome, the effects of PTSD … often in a much shorter period of time.

For example, some studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have PTSD after only three 90-minute EMDR sessions. Another study, funded by Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple-trauma victims were no longer diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were shown to be free of PTSD in just 12 sessions.

It often takes months, or even years, of more traditional talk therapy to achieve similar results!

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

Unlike with traditional counseling or psychotherapy, or medications, or hypnosis, an EMDR therapist helps clients focus on troubling memories or difficult emotions while clients simultaneously experience some form of bilateral stimulation.

This bilateral stimulation typically involves clients moving their eyes back and forth in a rapid, rhythmic manner similar to the rapid eye movement that occurs naturally in our sleep, but which may also include tapping or auditory tones.

It is this simultaneous bilateral stimulation that reduces the power and effect of emotionally charged memories and can speed your healing process.


Well, when painful memories are avoided, they retain their power.

Thanks to the simultaneous diversion of the bilateral stimulation, EMDR therapy allows you to experience troubling or painful thoughts or memories without having a strong psychological response to them.

This allows you to re-experience and redefine your past so you can once again enjoy the present and move forward with confidence and optimism for the future.

Is EMDR Therapy the Best PTSD Treatment Option for You?

Repeated studies have shown that EMDR treatment is extremely effective at helping people overcome the effects of trauma and PTSD.

Perhaps most importantly, the healing and insight offered by EMDR come from your own improved emotional and mental processes.

In other words, EMDR treatment can help you not only move past trauma and PTSD, you’ll also feel empowered by the same experiences that previously caused you to feel like a victim. Your wounds won’t simply be healed, they’ll be transformed, and all without the lengthy treatment required by many other, more traditional, talk therapies.

Lastly, while the goal of EMDR treatment is to help clients cope with and overcome past traumas and present situations and replace the negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs associated with them with positive ones, EMDR therapy is also about developing specific skills, attitudes, and behaviors you can use to better handle any future situations on your own.

Of course, only you can decide whether or not EMDR treatment is right for you …

But, given the worldwide recognition and use of EMDR as an efficient and effective PTSD treatment, if you’re ready to finally overcome PTSD and reclaim control of your life, then EMDR therapy is definitely worth more than a quick sideways or passing glance!

If you have any questions regarding this article, or if I may be of any other assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 510-735-8868 or email me at I look forward to speaking with you and helping you create a life you truly love living!

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