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What Is EMDR Therapy and How Does it Work?

Elizabeth Crain

By Elizabeth Crain


Mental Health

Are you a veteran living with mental health challenges? We have good news for you—your options when it comes to therapy and treatment are not limited! Many treatments are available to manage symptoms and guide you towards recovery. One of the most exciting solutions is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (most often identified by the acronym EMDR), but what is it, and how do you know if it’s a good option for you? 

What is EMDR Therapy and How Does it Work

If you’re wondering what EMDR therapy is and how it works, we’ve got answers. EMDR is a simple eight-step process that can yield extraordinary results. In this blog, we provide more information about EMDR therapy and give some guidance on how to tell if it’s a good option for you.

A Brief Overview of EMDR Therapy

EMDR therapy is a lesser-known treatment option compared to more traditional therapies, however, it is quickly gaining popularity in western therapy practices.

As more and more people begin to recognize the many benefits of EMDR, it’s becoming a widely recommended solution for veterans with with mental health afflictions. 

The Process of EMDR Trauma Therapy

EMDR therapy is a simple eight-step process that can make all the difference for veterans. A typical session lasts about 60-90 minutes, and each session follows the eight phases outlined below.

The number of sessions each patient needs depends on their circumstances. Some people experience massive relief after just one or two sessions. Once you talk to a doctor about your mental health concerns, they can give a realistic idea of your treatment timeline. 

EMDR Therapy

The eight phases of an EMDR therapy session are as follows:

  • Step 1: Gather the patient’s history and plan the treatment timeline.
  • Step 2: Prepare for the session by discussing the upcoming process.
  • Step 3: Conduct an assessment to identify a specific image from a target event, delve into an existing negative belief, and determine a new positive belief.
  • Step 4: Go through a desensitization process using sets of eye movements, sounds, or taps.
  • Step 5: Practice the new positive belief to replace the existing negative one.
  • Step 6: Conduct a body scan to identify residual tension in the body triggered by the target event.
  • Step 7: Use self-calming techniques to solidify the results and provide coping resources.
  • Step 8: Evaluate the experience and discuss what specific thoughts and feelings arose during the session.

What Mental Health Conditions Does EMDR Treat?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is known as a trauma therapy option that can help treat:

  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Childhood or complex trauma
  • Chronic pain
  • Addictions
  • Unresolved grief
  • Phobias and fears
EMDR Therapy

When dealing with depression, EMDR can help manage the symptoms that come with it. For veterans struggling with PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health afflictions, EMDR can be a new and welcome source of relief.

Am I a Good Candidate for EMDR Therapy?

EMDR could be the perfect solution for you whether you want to try different therapy modalities or are already benefiting from traditional therapies but want an extra boost for your healing.

EMDR is different from traditional talk therapy or counseling. If you want to try something new, EMDR is an action-based option that could be a wonderful alternative.

Discussing Your Options with Your Doctor

Having a safe environment to discuss your mental health concerns is imperative. When you talk with your doctor or therapist, they listen and will know how to address your concerns. Ask questions and be honest and direct with what you need. 

Your doctor will allow you to exercise all of your healthy options. Some providers even offer EMDR therapy online via telehealth. This is an excellent help for veterans who aren’t able to visit with their provider in person or for those who need additional accessibility.

Telemedica Can Help On Your Path to Overall Well-Being

There’s a lot of talk about EMDR and how it can help, but the truth is that you are a unique individual with specific needs. There are many different elements to consider when seeking treatment for a mental health condition, and having a team in your corner can make it easier to understand the process. 

Telemedica’s staff is here to do just that. Contact us today and find out how we can guide you on your mental health journey.