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Therapeutic Approaches

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

At Georgia Family Therapy, we understand that every individual's path to healing is unique. In our dedication to providing personalized, integrative care, we offer Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) as part of our therapeutic repertoire. Recognized worldwide for its effectiveness in treating trauma, EMDR offers a dynamic approach to therapy that can help individuals heal from the emotional distress associated with traumatic experiences.

What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. Developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s, EMDR is designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories. It facilitates the accessing and processing of traumatic memories and other adverse life experiences to bring these to an adaptive resolution.

How does EMDR Work?

EMDR therapy involves a structured eight-phase approach that includes:

  • History and Treatment Planning: During the initial phase, the therapist will gather information about the client's history and identify potential targets for EMDR processing. These targets include disturbing incidents or traumatic memories that are causing distress in the client's life.

  • Preparation: The therapist will explain the EMDR process, answer any questions, and establish a strong therapeutic rapport. This phase also includes equipping the client with stress-reduction techniques that they can use between sessions.

  • Assessment: The identified target is then thoroughly assessed. The client will pinpoint the vivid visual image related to the memory, a negative belief about themselves, related emotions, and body sensations.

  • Desensitization: This phase involves the use of bilateral stimulation, typically eye movements, while the client focuses on the traumatic memory. The goal is to reduce the distress associated with the memory.

  • Installation: The aim here is to concentrate on and increase the strength of the positive belief that the client would like to have. The memory is revisited, but focus is given to the positive belief, reinforcing it with bilateral stimulation.

  • Body Scan: After the distressing memory has been processed, the client is asked to bring the original target to mind and see if any residual distress is noticed in the body. If so, these physical sensations are targeted for further EMDR processing.

  • Closure: This phase ensures that the client leaves each session feeling better than when they arrived. If processing is not complete, the therapist will guide the client in self-calming exercises to ensure stability.

  • Reevaluation: At the beginning of subsequent sessions, the therapist checks to make sure that the processing of the targeted memory from the last session was maintained and to identify any new areas that need treatment.

At its core, the approach is characterized by bilateral stimulation (eye movements, taps, or tones) while the client recalls a traumatic event. This process helps the brain to reprocess the traumatic memories, allowing individuals to integrate and understand them in a new and healthier way.

Who can EMDR Benefit?

EMDR is primarily used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but it's also increasingly being used to help individuals recover from various types of psychological distress. This includes depression, anxiety, panic attacks, eating disorders, and addictions. It can also benefit individuals who have experienced distressing life events such as bereavement, personal or professional failure, illness, or relationship issues.

How can EMDR Help you Reach your Goals?

EMDR can be instrumental in helping individuals overcome the emotional hurdles that impede their personal growth. By reprocessing traumatic memories and transforming the emotional responses tied to them, individuals often find relief from symptoms, experience a renewed sense of self, and feel empowered to move forward in their lives. At Georgia Family Therapy, we incorporate EMDR into personalized treatment plans to help clients reach their therapeutic goals, promote resilience, and foster personal transformation.

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Challenges Addressed

Cancer & Other Illnesses

Physical & Sexual Abuse


Divorce & Domestic Violence

Grief & Loss

Trauma & Adversities


Anxiety & Phobia

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