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EMDR - Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR for short, is a leading therapy model that helps people heal from past events that cause ongoing emotional distress, and which may translate into negative beliefs they carry about themselves. EMDR was started by Francine Shapiro in 1987, and has three decades of research showing its success in treating clients with a variety of life stressors. 


EMDR therapy is made up of eight phases of treatment, all of which can be completed in one session, depending on the target. Treatment can last a range of time depending on the severity of the trauma, the openness of the client, and the number of traumatic target events or beliefs that the client hopes to resolve.


If working on one disturbing past event, multiple research studies have found that 80-90% of clients will experience relief after 3 sessions. However, many clients working through a single traumatic event using EMDR report some relief after the first session.


EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation (usually eye movements) to elicit the unresolved wounds one carries and reroute neural pathways to allow for healing. While the sadness and grief of an event may always remain, the reaction and emotional weight one carries can be resolved, so that the individual can live an easier and more content life.


An event that made an individual feel powerless, empty, angry, or in pain, may now make that individual see themselves as strong, fulfilled, at peace, and content. 


"I believe EMDR is the most transformative therapeutic tool we currently have. Having experienced rapid healing myself via EMDR, I have been committed to providing this service for our clients. All of our therapists are trained in EMDR within the first year at our practice. This is part of our ongoing efforts to provide gold standard, evidence-based, high quality therapy."


---Jennifer Pereira, LPC-S, RD, LD 

 (Owner, Counselor, Dietitian)

At ACN, we provide:

EMDR Therapy in Lakeway TX

311 RR 620, Suite 105, Lakeway, TX, 78734
EMDR Therapy in Austin TX
4408 Spicewood Springs RD, Suite 111, Austin, TX 78759

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EMDR treatment austin tx

Our therapists are all trained in EMDR and find that its use in therapy has the potential to bring about powerful positive change in clients' lives. If you are interested in discussing EMDR's potential benefits for you, please reach out to one of our therapists.


For more information on EMDR, please see the following websites:

In more recent research, EMDR has also been shown to be an effective treatment for many different diagnoses and mental health concerns. EMDR has been known to help clients who have experienced traumas such as:

  • abuse

  • neglect 

  • assault 

  • injuries

  • accidents 


People often don't realize that EMDR can be very effective in helping clients with:

  • eating disorders 

  • body image concerns 

  • anxiety and panic 

  • phobias 

  • depression and bipolar disorders 

  • relational distress 

  • dissociative disorders 

  • grief and loss 

  • chronic pain


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EMDR Statistics

EMDR therapy has been found to be very effective in treating a wide range of traumatic and distressing events, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, grief, acute stress, complex trauma, and even phobias.

In general, the response to EMDR is very positive and studies on the efficacy of the therapy have shown that approximately 75% of PTSD sufferers are no longer diagnosed with the disorder after just three 90-minute EMDR sessions. Other studies have found that approximately 80-90% of participants no longer met the criteria for PTSD after only 8 EMDR sessions.

For other conditions, EMDR has been found to be effective in relieving symptoms. For instance, one study found that 85% of participants no longer experienced phobias after 8 EMDR sessions.

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Traditionally the treatment for internal struggles (expressed as a variety of mental health and addiction issues) was long-term talk therapy. While this approach can be helpful in some ways, it can be ineffective for some of the more troubling aspects of an individual's presenting problem.  


One of the reasons for this is that early and/or traumatic memory is often stored ineffectively in the more primitive areas of the brain. Talk therapy is engaging the more advanced parts of the brain which work in logic and abstract thinking.  


This advanced part cannot communicate with the primitive part. This is what we see with someone who describes feeling this way: "I know in my mind what you are saying is true, but I cannot seem to believe it."

Most of our therapists are trained in EMDR and use EMDR in their practice, when appropriate, to enhance the therapeutic process for her clients.  

How does EMDR work?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. 


Repeated studies show that by using EMDR people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. 


EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. 


When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound.  If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. 


The brain's information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. 


Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes. 

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Call or Text (512) 655-3878 for more information


EMDR and Eating Disorders

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EMDR is not just for trauma, it can be transformative for:

  • negative core beliefs

  • low self esteem

  • anxiety

  • OCD

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       EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a type of psychotherapy that helps people process trauma. It works by inducing lateral eye movements while a person focuses on the traumatic memories and associated emotions. This helps the person learn to process and heal from the trauma in a safe and contained environment. EMDR is known to be an effective treatment for trauma by helping the individual move through the difficult memories while encouraging the development of insight and resilience.


       EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) is a form of psychotherapy used to treat a variety of mental health concerns and physical health problems, including eating disorders. In EMDR, clients work with a trained practitioner and follow an established protocol to identify, process, and resolve unhealthy associations and patterns related to their eating disorder symptoms.


       EMDR can help with eating disorder treatment by helping clients explore and challenge thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that contribute to their disordered eating patterns, addressing underlying trauma, and building healthier coping skills to replace their disordered eating. Additionally, EMDR can work to reduce the cognitive, behavioral, and physical symptoms associated with eating disorders, including decreasing intrusive thoughts and cravings, improving concentration and motivation to make lifestyle changes, and strengthening self-soothing techniques.

       EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an innovative, psychotherapy technique used to help people who are struggling with traumatic life experiences and persistent fear or distress. Often times these traumatic memories and experiences can become stuck in the nervous system and can be debilitating for a person's mental health. Through the process of EMDR, these memories and experiences can be desensitized and the symptoms of stress and distress can be significantly reduced.



       The theory behind EMDR is that the distressed memories are stuck in the nervous system and are not available to the brain to be processed and integrated effectively, leading to ongoing distress. Through the process of EMDR, the memories can be accessed, reprocessed and integrated into the brain in a more productive way. The technique utilizes bilateral stimulation, often through eye movements and other body sensations such as tapping, low frequency sound and vibration. This bilateral stimulation helps to active the right and left brain hemispheres, allowing the client to access the stuck memories or experiences and reprocess them in a healthier way.


        EMDR has been used in many different situations and is a very effective treatment for those struggling with a wide range of issues such as PTSD, phobias, substance use disorders and panic disorders. Not only has this technique had success in reducing psychological symptoms, it has also been found to increase self-compassion, self-regard, and skill in tolerating strong emotions. EMDR can be used in helping people of all ages when it comes to traumatic experiences, it can be very helpful for children and adolescents too.

Can EMDR be done virtually via telehealth sessions?

       EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an evidence-based treatment approach designed to address symptoms of trauma, panic and anxiety. EMDR has become increasingly popular given its relatively short treatment duration and demonstrated efficacy.


       As virtual mental health is increasingly accepted as a reliable and valid mode of therapy delivery, clinicians are beginning to explore how EMDR can be effectively utilized within a virtual session. 

       The mechanics of EMDR remain the same in a virtual session as in an in-person one. Clinicians will typically instruct the client to focus on a specific memory or traumatic event and then incorporate bilateral stimulation such as back-and-forth movements of the eyes or the tapping of alternate hands.


       While virtual EMDR naturally comes with some challenges such as ensuring the client has access to audio and visual aids, these can be easily overcome with some additional preparation and setting expectations with the client in advance. 


       Overall, EMDR is an effective treatment that can be easily integrated into a virtual session. This allows therapists and clients to benefit from the same successful approach without requiring the client to visit the clinic. Clinicians must still take precautions to ensure that the guidelines set by the EMDR International Association are followed, but utilizing EMDR in a virtual session is an effective way to provide clients with care when in-person visits are not feasible.

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EMDR vs. Traditional Therapy

EMDR is more effective than talk therapy for treating PTSD because it uses a combination of cognitive and somatic components to help people process and rethink memories associated with distressing events.


During EMDR, the individual focuses on the traumatic memory while simultaneously engaging in rapid back-and-forth eye movements or tapping, stimulating the patient's brains to reprocess the event.


This type of rapid bilateral stimulation helps to effective reprocess the traumatic memory and helps the individual gain a greater insight into the event.


It also helps individuals break through the behavioral and emotional blocks to the traumatic memory, improving their emotional regulation and allowing them to better respond to new situations.


EMDR helps to access and eventually neutralize painful and blocked emotions. In studies, EMDR has been found to be more effective than talking therapy in reducing PTSD symptoms, in cases where trauma was at the root of a disorder.

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