Overcoming the effects of trauma

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. It is a unique, powerful therapy that helps people recover from problems triggered by traumatic events in their lives. It stops difficult memories causing so much distress by helping the brain to reprocess them properly.

The therapy involves using bilateral stimulation, which means alternating sensory input, to engage both sides of the brain. This can be achieved through eye movements, sounds, or gentle taps. Bilateral stimulation helps activate the brain’s natural healing mechanisms and supports the processing of distressing memories in a safe and controlled manner.

As you focus on the distressing memory or belief, the therapist will guide you through the process, encouraging you to notice any thoughts, emotions, or physical sensations that arise. Through the bilateral stimulation and guided attention, the aim is to help you reprocess the memory in a way that reduces its emotional intensity and allows for a more adaptive and healthier perspective.

Throughout the therapy, you’ll have the opportunity to explore and challenge any negative beliefs or perceptions you may have about yourself that have resulted from the traumatic experiences. The therapist will support you in developing more positive and realistic beliefs that can contribute to your overall well-being and resilience.

It’s important to note that EMDR therapy is a collaborative process, and your active participation and engagement are key to its effectiveness. Your therapist will provide a safe and nonjudgmental environment where you can share your experiences and emotions openly. They will also teach you relaxation techniques and coping strategies to help you manage any distress that may arise during the therapy sessions.

The length of EMDR therapy can vary depending on your individual needs and goals. Some people may experience significant improvement in a relatively short time, while others may require more sessions to achieve their desired outcomes.

EMDR therapy has been extensively researched and has shown positive results in helping individuals recover from trauma, reduce distressing symptoms, and improve their overall well-being. However, it’s important to work with a qualified therapist who has received specific training in EMDR to ensure you receive the appropriate support and guidance throughout the process.

Ultimately, EMDR therapy offers a structured and evidence-based approach to address the effects of trauma and distressing memories, providing an opportunity for healing, growth, and the restoration of a more positive and fulfilling life.


Changing the memories that form the way we see ourselves also changes the way we view others. Therefore, our relationships, job performance, what we are willing to do or are able to resist, all move in a positive direction.

Francine Shapiro

EMDR in the media

Please note, various media coverage is shown here in order to share with you many different people’s experiences of EMDR treatment. For authoritative descriptions and definitions of the therapy please return to this site as the EMDR Association is not responsible for third party content.

April 2020

In partnership with the EMDR Association, the charity Trauma Response Network has 300 volunteer EMDR therapists offering free therapy online in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. NHS and key workers are being prioritised, but it is open to anyone severely traumatised by the pandemic.  Sean Gardner, a businessman caught up in the Manchester Arena bombing founded Trauma Response Network together with EMDR therapists, to provide ‘mental health first aid’ in the aftermath of a mass trauma event. There are links to Manchester Evening News who covered the story below and a clip from Sky News.

Sky news TRN VIDEO-2020-04-14-13


Read the article

February 2020

A woman describes how EMDR helped her on the road to recovery from PTSD caused by the violence she suffered as a very young child growing up in the Ukraine.

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January 2020

A Canadian journalist describes how effective she found EMDR for the issues she was dealing with, and gives some background to the therapy.

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November 2019

Medical TV series ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ takes EMDR as a storyline: the writer and producer gives an interview to explain why.

Read the article

October 2019

A programme about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on Radio 4’s You and Yours highlights that EMDR is a first line treatment and includes several calls from listeners who benefited from the therapy.

Listen to the programme

See all EMDR media