EMDR Therapy

Anything that keeps you from being a shining star is either a lie or a memory.

                         -Deb Kennard

What is EMDR? 

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing. EMDR is a type of psychotherapy that helps people heal from symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. These can be major traumas like abuse, neglect and natural disasters. And it can also be things that are considered 'normal', such as being bullied at school/work, being called names such a fat or stupid at school or by family members. Heck, sometimes just living in this world is enough to cause Core Beliefs that do not serve us.


EMDR targets the symptoms, core beliefs, and memories that keep us stuck in anxiety, depression, fear and hopelessness, without having to describe every detail of upsetting events. In the reprocessing phase I will ask you to recall the disturbing memory as you experience bi-lateral stimulation by either eye movements or buzzers you hold in each hand.

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

EMDR is an 8 phase process, with the actual eye movement/bi-lateral stimulation phase only being one of those phases. We'll start by getting to know each other and establishing a trusting therapeutic relationship. We will spend time getting an overall history of your life and then move into assessing and establishing coping skills and what EMDR therapists call resourcing. Before we move into the reprocessing phase it is important to ensure that you feel confident in your ability to regulate and cope with any disturbing emotions or memories that may come up. This phase can often take 2-3 months or longer depending on your particular situation.


If you google EMDR you may find stories about people getting relief after one, two or three sessions. While this does happen (many clinical studies show this), this is usually when there is one disturbing event such as a car accident or a single physical/sexual assault. While I do treat people for single episode trauma, I specialize in what is called complex trauma which usually means you have suffered from childhood traumas and/or prolonged, repeated experiences of interpersonal traumas. This type of trauma has deeper roots and more 'stuff' to process. I ask all of my clients who wish to benefit from EMDR to commit to at least six months of therapy so that we can fully assess whether the therapy is working, and to not get stuck in concerns about it 'not working fast enough'.

What Does EMDR Treat?

There has been so much research on EMDR therapy that it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense. EMDR is effective with a number of issues such as;

  • Childhood Trauma

  • All Types of Trauma

  • Poor Self Esteem/Self Worth

  • Negative Self Beliefs

  • Poor Body Image

  • Disordered Eating

  • Performance Enhancement

  • Making Health Relationship Choices

  • Troubling Life Transitions

Professional Counseling in Lake Oswego, SW Portland, Beaverton, Tigard & Greater Portland

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Professional Counseling in Lake Oswego, SW Portland, Beaverton, Tigard & Greater Portland

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Christina@innerlifetherapy.com  503. 470. 3128    155 B Ave ste 220 Lake Oswego, OR 97034  Professional Therapy in Portland & Lake Oswego