What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches.

To date, EMDR therapy has helped millions of people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress. 

EMDR was developed in the 1980’s by psychologist, Dr. Francine Shapiro.  It is an evidence-based therapy approach which has now been proven through no less than 36 randomized controlled trials (plus 22 additional studies) to be effective in the treatment of psychological trauma. That is, it decreases, and often completely eliminates the symptoms of PTSD!  It has been designated as an effective treatment by the American Psychiatric Association, U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the World Health Organization, and numerous other governmental health agencies around the world (including the UK, The Netherlands, Germany, & Israel) . The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (of the US Department of Health and Human Services) cites EMDR as an evidence-based treatment of anxiety and depression, as well as appropriate for PTSD.

As research continues and multiple thousands of therapists are using EMDR all around the world, many are reporting evidence that it is effective in the treatment of:

  • Addictions (substances and behavioral)
  • Panic attacks
  • Phobias
  • Disturbing memories
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Stress
  • Eating disorders
  • Pain disorders

What people are saying about EMDR

59 year-old female:

Approximately 14 months ago I was assaulted (physically) left with extensive injuries which required surgery, seven months of rehab, severe head concussion, and emotional trauma, and PTSD. I had emotionally charged memories of the assault, depression, anger, the fear of being alone, nightmares, sleep problems, and other phobias. I was healing physically but emotionally was struggling.

I desired to be emotionally stable and somehow start the forgiveness process. I started with a Christian counselor who felt I needed to see another sweet young lady who was very knowledgeable of EMDR but was not trained in it, but knew a man with years of EMDR training, so I was set up to start EMDR, having a place that God paved this way for me. After reading about EMDR I was a little leery of the process, but once again God gave me peace.

A week later I started my journey to healing. The first visit I was nervous, running on high levels of anxiety, anger, stress, stomach aches, headaches, nightmares, low self-esteem and powerlessness, and emotional triggers that resulted in turmoil. My visits would start with 2-3 weekly for months, I slowly began sharing my attack, there were memories, dark, the smells, atmosphere conditions, remembering the severe pain, my grandkids crying over me, sounds of fire trucks, the ambulance and police, my heart pounding, panic and my heart raced.

Over the course of treatment with EMDR, I started feeling some positiveness, the anxiety, fear, depression started losing their intensity, the once emotionally charged “memories” were becoming LESS, I was regaining control/strength of my emotions, my nightmares were reduced, my sleep pattern had increased, the trauma was becoming less. EMDR was allowing me to have control over my thoughts. While navigating through the EMDR process, I’m physically doing well and I’m in control of my emotions and not my attacker. Recently, I was able to go back to the place of my assault with my husband, I was able to get out and walk and play in my mind of the events that took place, yes there were some tears to old wounds that once controlled me but through EMDR, I am Strong, I am Victorious, I am Blessed!

EMDR therapy freed me to be the person that God meant for me to be.

61 year old male, former police officer:

I have been going to Stephen Weathersbee for counseling for the past two months. His initial diagnosis of my problem was a limited Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), due to an incident surrounding my past employment. Mr. Weathersbee thought that I was a good candidate for a treatment called, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing).

After a few visits with Mr. Weathersbee and the use of EMDR, I started feeling better about myself and was able to use the method he taught to calm myself when I was feeling angry, stressed or depressed. I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of the sessions with Mr. Weathersbee and the positive outcomes that came from the use of EMDR.

For those who are skeptical or unsure of the concept of EMDR, I highly recommend this type of counseling or treatment. It helped me deal with my inner feelings that I had bottled up and refused to face head on.

48 year old female client:

Through EMDR treatment, I was able to draw out hidden traumatic memories and process them into something manageable and non-damaging. The repetitious examination of the harmful images resulted in a lessening of the power they held over me and my thought processes. Now, while I am still aware of the memories, they have been transformed into parts of my past that no longer cause me fear and pain but are just things that happened which have finally been put into proper perspective.

I could metaphor it like this: it was as though my mind was a long straight level freeway that had several points along it where there were
accidents or construction sites that blocked the regular flow of traffic. All the cars traveling on the road were made to start and stop, start and stop. With EMDR, the blocked areas were cleared away one by one and the cars were allowed to move uninterrupted down the freeway. Like the cars before EMDR, my thoughts came along in erratic fashion, starting and stopping and zig-zagging around obstacles. Now they enter the road and move along smoothly and evenly as they make toward their destination. My mind works like that now, allowing thoughts to come into it and gently travel through until they continue on.

I realize also that I am not abnormal because I don’t conform to the norm. I am not damaged by my experience but unique to it. It is simply my own story, my true self. Once all the pain and confusion were cleared away by placing the memories in proper perspective, I put them into isolated storage units where they can be and I can be safe from them. What I found was left for me to deal with was just myself,
my own sacred center. It was like reconnecting with a long lost friend. I am calm now, and content, and I take things as they come, with acceptance and I have stopped fretting about everything and blowing things out of proportion to feed the frenzy I used to live by. I am happy for the first time in my life.

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