Online Trauma, EMDR and IFS Therapy in San Francisco  |  Beyond Words Psychotherapy  |  44 Tehama St, San Francisco, CA 94105  |  Tel: 510-735-8868

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

What Is Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy and Can It Help You?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an interactive and integrative approach to psychotherapy that is being used around the world thanks to its proven effectiveness in helping people overcome the symptoms of, and heal from, the emotional distress that’s caused by traumatic memories and disturbing life experiences, including:

  • Disturbing Memories
  • Complicated Grief
  • Anxiety and Stress Reduction
  • Panic Attacks
  • Phobias
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Self-Esteem Issues
  • Chronic Pain or Illness
  • Personality Disorders
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders, and
  • Sexual, Physical, and/or Emotional Abuse

How Does EMDR Treatment Work?

Unlike with traditional talk therapy, medications, or hypnosis, an EMDR therapist helps a client create a “learning state” in which the client can focus on a troubling emotion or memory while the client simultaneously experiences some form of bilateral stimulation – typically moving his or her eyes back and forth in a rapid, rhythmic manner similar to the rapid eye movement that occurs naturally when we dream 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 feelings and memories and speeds the client through the healing process.


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

EMDR therapy allows you to experience troubling or painful thoughts or memories without having a strong psychological response to them thanks to the simultaneous diversion of the bilateral stimulation, allowing you to re-experience and redefine your past so you can once again enjoy the present and move forward into the future with confidence and optimism.

EMDR treatment begins by reviewing the client’s history (issues, memories, behaviors, and relationships) in order to help the therapist develop a treatment plan.

EMDR therapy then proceeds through a series of seven additional steps, in which the therapist helps prepare the client on how to work on the issues, and then processing and reprocessing the issues until positive behaviors have been developed toward them.

Specifically, EMDR treatment involves three major achievement steps:

  • Past Memories
  • Present Disturbances, and
  • Future Actions

The therapist and client will work on each, resolving issues from the past that are causing problems in the present, until the present disturbances have been reprocessed in such a way so that they’re no longer an issue going forward into the future.

Perhaps most importantly, the insights and healing you’ll gain through EMDR therapy come from your own improved emotional and mental processes.

In other words, you’ll complete EMDR treatment feeling empowered by the same experiences that once caused you to feel like a victim. Your wounds won’t have simply healed, they’ll have 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 you 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.

So, all this being the case…

Is EMDR Treatment Right for You?

EMDR Certified Therapist - EMDR International AssociationWhile 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 safest and most efficient and effective.

That being said, although EMDR therapy follows a specific, multi-step treatment plan, EMDR treatment is different for everyone because we’re all unique individuals and our healing processes are guided from within.

Additionally, while EMDR treatment is often much more efficient and effective than other forms of therapy, you will need to attend multiple sessions to successfully move through each phase of treatment.

However, while the length of time EMDR requires can vary, many of my clients begin to see significant improvements within just 8-10 sessions.

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

But, given the worldwide recognition and use of EMDR to help people not only heal from trauma but also cope with and overcome feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, low self-esteem, and many other issues that lead them to counseling and therapy, EMDR is definitely a therapeutic treatment that’s worth more than a quick sideways or passing glance!

If you’d like more information about how EMDR can help you create healthier beliefs and behaviors, please feel free to contact me at 510-735-8868 or email me at with any questions you have or to schedule an initial consultation. I look forward to speaking with you and helping you create a life that’s truly worth living.

Beyond Words Psychotherapy – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, EMDR Treatment in San Francisco and Online EMDR Therapy in California

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