• EMDR therapy in Austin

EMDR Therapy

About EMDR

Curious about EMDR therapy in Austin and what it does? EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) helps people heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences and it can make improvements very quickly. Think of it like a physical wound, once the object that has made the wound is removed, the healing process can begin. EMDR can help clients move through difficult events which may have taken much longer in individual therapy to fully process.
Watch the video below if you would like to see a session where EMDR is utilized.

What can EMDR treat?

EMDR is primarily indicated for trauma but it can be used for a variety of things including:
  • Panic attacks
  • Complicated grief
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Disturbing memories
  • Phobias
  • Pain disorders
  • Performance anxiety
  • Stress reduction
  • Addictions
  • Sexual and/or Physical abuse
  • Body dysmorphic disorders
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Why choose EMDR?

EMDR has been extensively researched and a proven therapy approach which is effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols utilizing an integrative psychotherapy approach combined with bilateral stimulation to help people move through trauma and negative psychological arousal. “Neurobiological studies have indicated significant effects, including changes in cortical, and limbic activation patterns, and increase in hippocampal volume.” Lansing, K., Amen, D.G., Hanks, C. & Rudy, L. (2005) (more info about EMDR)

What is EMDR? Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

(EMDR) is a technique for processing past painful experiences and traumas so they may be integrated more adaptively and not cause the same level of emotional reaction.

How was EMDR discovered?

EMDR was discovered by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. in 1987. She was walking through a park noticing the trees on either side of the path she was on. She realized that the eye movements seemed to decrease the negative emotion associated with her own distressing memories she was thinking about. She began to experiment with the eye movements to see if they did, in fact, decrease negative feelings. She found that others had the same response but later added other components to the treatment to make it a more comprehensive treatment. She also found that other forms of bilateral stimulation can produce the same beneficial results.

Why does it work?

The way memory is stored in the brain is seen as the underlying basis of mental health problems because it is the basis of perception, attitude, and behavior. If unpleasant memories get stuck in the nervous system, they can cause distress. We all experience traumatic events in our lives and many times they resolve naturally so the memory is no longer troubling. However, sometimes, the trauma does not resolve itself. EMDR processes this disturbance to an adaptive resolution. The process approaches all material in the past (memory), the present (its effects on you today), and the future.

Is EMDR evidence based?  

There have been hundreds of studies done on the effectiveness of EMDR showing how effective it is in treating: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, childhood trauma, substance abuse and phobias (to name a few).

What will it be like?

The therapist will guide you through the EMDR process, which includes information gathering, resource installation, defining the issues to be worked on, bilateral stimulation and feedback.

The bilateral stimulation is either bilateral movement of the eyes from side to side, physical movement from one hand to the other, or audio from one ear to the other, to activate neurological processing. In a session, this happens when the client follows the therapist’s fingers back and forth, holds tappers that vibrate from one hand to the other or wears a headset that beeps in one ear and then the other. Although the traditional way to work with EMDR is using eye movements, it has been shown that the different methods of bilateral stimulation are equally valid. You and your therapist will find the most effective method for you.

As you use bilateral stimulation to work through problematic information and digest the old events: pictures, sensations, or emotions may arise. Your job is to notice them and just let them happen. Imagine that you are on a train and the scenery is passing by. Notice the landscape without trying to grab hold of it or make it significant.

How does EMDR help you get through difficult memories that might come up?

One of the first steps in the EMDR process is learning tools that can help when unpleasant or upsetting feelings come up between sessions. These are part of the preparation phase. It is very important that you have the tools to deal with any unpleasant memories or feelings that might come up so these are an important part of the preparation process before getting into any upsetting memories.

How long does it take?

EMDR has proven to be an extremely efficient method of processing traumas, big and small. However, each person is unique and therefore the length of time will vary greatly. Most reports find EMDR to be faster than other methods of “trauma” resolution. This has been my experience as well.

Who is it best for?

EMDR is a therapy that helps children, adolescents, and adults who have experienced any type of trauma, big or small, including anxiety, depression, fears and phobias, OCD, dissociative disorders and substance abuse. It can help performance enhancement.

In my training when I experienced EMDR, I found that it helped my thoughts and the connections of those thoughts happen much faster. It also surprised me how well it works to improve the processing of memories and experiences. It’s as if it cleans out the old negative thoughts to make way for more positive memories and feelings to emerge.

Example from one of our therapists:

“I worked with a woman who was in a car accident. She was understandably very shaken up after the accident which happened in broad daylight. A huge truck came into her lane so she swerved and hit the guardrail going 65 miles per hour. Her car was totaled and she was in complete shock. She remembered vividly the sound of the car hitting the rail and the ambulance ride to the hospital. When she came to see me, she was experiencing nightmares and flashbacks whenever she tried to drive further than around the block from her house. It was impacting her life in every way possible. While getting some history of other traumatic events during our sessions, she learned some tools she could use when not in session if disturbing memories emerged. We then set up the target of the accident to work on using EMDR. We worked together for three months on a weekly basis. Each time she came in, I would ask her to rate how much the memory of the accident bothered her on a scale from 0-10, 10 being the worst. Over the course of treatment, the level went down to a 0 and although the thought of the accident was still of course upsetting, it didn’t have the same emotional charge that it had when we began.”

Meet Our Team

Our team has been trained on a variety of well-researched methods to help you make the most progress possible in counseling.

Teri Schroeder, LCSW

Teri Schroeder, LCSW

David Jenkins, LCSW

David Jenkins, LCSW

Diana Schaefer, LCSW

Diana Schaefer, LCSW

Patty Monical, LMFT, LPC-S, RPT-S

Patty Monical, LMFT, LPC-S, RPT-S

Tiffany Dang, LPC

Tiffany Dang, LPC

Nancy Pounds, LPC

Nancy Pounds, LPC

Kelly Edwards, LMFT Associate, LPC Intern

Kelly Edwards, LMFT Associate, LPC Intern


You can click the button below to see additional members of our team, their specialties, and biographies.

Blog Posts Related to EMDR

Below are some posts on EMDR that may be helpful to you in your quest to learn more for yourself or those you love.

Want to see what EMDR is like?

EMDR Therapy Client Testimonials

EMDR Therapy FAQ

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