5306 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA  206-403-1148

What is EMDR Therapy And How Can It Help Me?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based therapy that has been successful at helping people heal from mental health concerns. Today, EMDR can be adapted to treat a variety of mental health concerns including trauma, certain phobias, anxiety, and depression.


Are You Struggling To Move Through Your Daily Life Without Painful Or Traumatic Reminders Of The Past?

If you have experienced trauma, you may be struggling with symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, and hypervigilance. You may find yourself avoiding people or situations that trigger memories of the trauma, or you may feel detached from your emotions and relationships. You may have difficulty concentrating or find that your thoughts race and are hard to control. The impact of trauma can be profound, affecting your daily life and relationships. However, there is hope.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a highly effective and evidence-based treatment for trauma. EMDR helps you process and heal from the traumatic experiences that are impacting your life. EMDR is a safe, non-invasive therapy modality that helps individuals recover from the effects of traumatic stress.

Our trained therapists at Thrive for the People are here to support you in your journey toward healing. Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to learn more about our in-office (Seattle, WA) and online therapy options and see if EMDR therapy can be a good fit for you. You don’t have to face the effects of trauma alone. A life free from the burden of trauma is within your reach.





How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

Throughout life, you will encounter difficult and stressful events. When you don’t receive enough tools or support to manage your stress during these unpredictable situations, it’s normal for you to develop a survival response that is rooted in protective defenses. These patterns served a purpose at one time, but they can also get in the way of allowing you to live freely as you truly desire.

EMDR therapy uses eight phases of treatment which guide you in moving through re-processing psychologically stressful memories at your own pace. This therapy uses bilateral stimulation, which typically involves back and forth eye movements, while you are instructed to focus on a particular memory, thought, or feeling. 

At the end of the eight-phase model, you should feel a sense of relief and confidence in the new, adaptive, coping strategies you can use in your everyday life. EMDR will allow you to feel more like you are in the driver’s seat of your life and less like a passenger who is just along for the ride.

If you have been struggling with finding a way forward through your trauma, you are not alone.

EMDR Activates Your Brain’s Natural Healing Capacity

EMDR therapy is based on the idea that traumatic experiences can cause disruptions in the brain’s information processing system. These disruptions can lead to negative beliefs about yourself and others, which jeopardize and severely limit your sense of safety. Being that the brain’s number one job is to keep you alive, it’s understandable that the brain develops a set response after trauma with the intent of keeping you safe from harm (however misguided those attempts). 

As a therapeutic intervention, EMDR therapy aims to reprocess traumatic memory by activating your brain’s natural healing abilities. Similar to how your body is designed to heal itself, your brain also has natural healing capacities. The pathway to healing after trauma can be demanding, but therapies like EMDR can help you in resetting your innate ability to heal. 

EMDR doesn’t require you to re-tell your trauma.

Many clients report that they feel apprehensive about retelling painful and upsetting parts of their story to a therapist, as this can sometimes make them feel worse. When you experience trauma, your brain has trouble making sense of something that was not supposed to happen. It can be difficult to recount details of the event(s) and retelling your story can even be retraumatizing. 

However, EMDR therapy allows you to nonverbally process your traumatic memory. Throughout reprocessing, traumatic memories and maladaptive beliefs are neutralized so that it no longer causes you distress.

Researchers believe EMDR produces a change in neural circuitry that is similar to what happens in REM sleep. This helps you reintegrate traumatic memories back into the larger context, helping you make better sense of yourself and life.

Who can benefit from EMDR therapy? 

EMDR therapy is most commonly used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, yet it has been shown to be effective in treating a range of mental health conditions such as phobias, anxiety, and even depression. It can be used with clients of any age, depending on the therapist’s level of training and speciality focus. 

EMDR will allow your brain to change its perception of what is threatening and dangerous in the world around you. It will allow you to know yourself more deeply, to appreciate your brain’s evolutionary wisdom, and to create more adaptive responses that will serve you and not keep you stuck. 

If you have experienced trauma and are struggling with difficult emotions, EMDR can be particularly helpful for you. Our EMDR trained clinicians at our Ballard clinic can provide a pathway to heal from the effects of trauma.

How Will I Know If My Trauma Is Big Enough For EMDR?

Many clients wonder if what they’ve experienced counts as trauma, and whether it warrants talking to a therapist. The truth is that most of us who have lived through adolescence and into adulthood have experienced some kind of trauma in their lives.

Trauma can come in all forms. Some are acute, specific in time, and visible, such as a car accident or rape. Some are more invisible, multidimensional, and chronic, such as experiences of racism or emotional neglect in a romantic relationship. Your pain is valid simply because it happened to you. 

Researchers often explain that what constitutes trauma is more about your response to the event than the event itself. If something happened to you that was significant to you, then it is important. Most likely, your most stressful life experiences have changed your perception about how life works, and have become obstacles for you when you are in similar situations.

EMDR Therapy In Seattle, WA

EMDR therapy is a powerful and effective treatment for trauma, anxiety, phobias, and depression. By reprocessing traumatic memories and reframing negative beliefs with one of our experienced Washington clinicians, EMDR therapy can help you reduce unwanted symptoms of stress and improve your quality of life. If you’re a Seattle resident and would like to get started with an EMDR therapist near you, contact us today. We will connect you with one of our skilled therapists in our Ballard office or online who is looking forward to working with you.



In-Person and Online Therapy

Our office is located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.

5306 Ballard Ave NW,
Seattle, WA

Can’t make it into the office? We also offer online therapy for your convenience.

Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to see if we are a good fit.