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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy in Boston Massachusetts

Have you ever just sat silent, and murmured to yourself, “So, life happened, huh!”?

Well, it’s something we’ve all felt – a shared nod to the ups and downs life throws our way. 

Life often hits us with unexpected incidents when we least expect them. Once we are there, we have no option but to end up grappling with emotions and memories that linger like uninvited guests. And, guess what? You still have to act “all cool” and “fine” while you battle with unresolved traumas in your head. 

As you age, carrying the weight of unsettling emotions doesn’t just disrupt your mental journey. It casts shadows that can potentially harm your performance, progress, and life quality. Precisely, everything you need for a balanced adult life!

The journey of adulthood, much like a rollercoaster, can sometimes be overwhelming, testing our resilience in the face of trauma. We’ve all been on this rollercoaster, right? The highs, the lows – they’re part of the ride. 

But what about those relentless waves of PTSD episodes, crashing back into your life? According to a recent survey spanning 24 countries, more than 70% of people have faced traumatic events, with over 30.5% experiencing four or more. These events range from the unexpected loss of a loved one to life-threatening accidents. It’s a staggering reality – trauma touches more lives than we might imagine. 

Great news – you don’t have to carry the weight of the same old you or those tough memories forever. EMDR therapy is here, as a highly effective solution on your journey to healing. 

So, what’s the deal with EMDR? We’ll discuss it all – who needs EMDR therapy (warning: maybe it’s you or someone you love), how it helps, conditions and problems EMDR treats, and more. 

After you have solid information on what this magical therapy is, we’ll also talk about the procedure of EMDR Therapy in Boston Massachusetts mental health treatment centers.

Without a second wasted, let’s begin with what EMDR therapy is!

What Exactly is EMDR Therapy, and Do You Need it?

Definition of EMDR Therapy:

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing – a non-traditional type of psychotherapy used for treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD). It includes a unique process where you move your eyes in a specific way while flashbacks from the past hurtful memories you haven’t healed from, appear right in front of your eyes (well, of course, hypothetically.)

The main aim of EMDR is to support you in healing from trauma or other tough life experiences. Unlike some older therapy methods, EMDR is relatively new. 

The initial clinical trial exploring EMDR was conducted in 1989. NIH reported that numerous trials conducted since then have consistently shown that this approach is effective and can provide relief faster than many other methods.

Why EMDR Therapy?

Why not? Honestly, if you hesitate to put your unhealed trauma and rough past experiences in words, then this therapy will work for you. Here are more reasons to choose EMDR therapy:

Non-Detailed Discourse

Just like we mentioned, not everyone can be talked down. Fortunately, EMDR therapy takes a unique approach by not necessitating detailed discussions about distressing issues.

Emotion, Thought, and Behavior Focus

Instead, the emphasis is on altering the emotions, thoughts, or behaviors stemming from distressing experiences, particularly trauma.

Facilitating Natural Healing

This method enables your brain to naturally resume its healing process without the need for exhaustive verbal exploration.

Mind vs. Brain Distinction

Clarifying the distinction between “mind” and “brain”: Your brain is an organ, while your mind constitutes the collection of thoughts, memories, beliefs, and experiences that shape your identity.

Understanding that the functionality of your mind is intricately linked to the structure of your brain. Networks of communicating brain cells, especially in areas related to memories and senses, streamline the functioning of your mind.

You see, that’s how efficient collaboration between the structure of your brain and the functioning of your mind explains why your senses—sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feels—can evoke powerful memories.

Who Needs EMDR Therapy?

Anyone! Literally, anyone who has been living and breathing in the suffocating air of past traumas – the unresolved and unhealed experiences that still walk with them through their days and nights. 

If you ask about age, EMDR therapy isn’t limited by age. It offers relief to a diverse range of individuals, including adolescents, teenagers, and adults.

Besides PTSD, What Problems Can EMDR Therapy Treat Successfully?

While most people with PTSD get EMDR therapy. But as you have seen plenty of its connection with your overall mental health, mental health care specialists use EMDR therapy for:

  • Trauma Disorders – PTSD or adjustment disorders 
  • Constant Anxiety – phobias/generalized/social anxiety 
  • Depression – persistent and serious depressive disorders 
  • Eating Disorders – binge eating disorder or loss of appetite 
  • Dissociative Disorders – identity/amnesia/depersonalization disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders – OCD/body dysmorphic disorders
  • Gender Dysphoria – considering your actual gender is different from what you were born with
PTSD Treatment Center

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

The explanation below will help you understand the mechanism of EMDR therapy better.

The Framework: Adaptive Information Processing (AIP)

You could say that EMDR is based on the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model, a brain memory storage theory developed by Francine Shapiro, PhD, the mind behind EMDR. Recognizing the differential storage of normal and traumatic memories in the brain.

Disrupted Networking During Disturbing Events

In normal circumstances, the brain smoothly stores memories to create interconnected networks with other recollections. However, disturbing events can disrupt this networking, which disconnects real-time experiences from the memory storage process through language.

Trauma’s Impact on Healing

Trauma memories restrict healthy healing and reassemble unhealed wounds in the brain. The lack of healing prevents the brain from signaling the end of danger. New experiences can intertwine with previous traumatic ones, which later recreates negative patterns and disrupts the link between senses and memories.

Imperfect Suppression of Memories

Hidden memories, much like trying not to touch a hot stove, aren’t completely sealed off. The imperfect way we suppress them can lead to negative symptoms, emotions, and behaviors linked to the stored traumatic event.

Touching Upon Triggers

Certain sights, sounds, and smells similar to a traumatic event can trigger improperly stored memories. Unlike other memories, these triggers may bring about strong emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, or panic.

PTSD Flashbacks: A Distorted Reliving

PTSD flashbacks showcase uncontrolled and distorted access to improperly stored memories, making individuals feel as if they are experiencing a disturbing event again. You could say – reliving your hurtful memory. 

Finally, EMDR’s Method: Reprocessing for Healing

In EMDR therapy, recalling memories of a traumatic event follows specific techniques, including eye movements and guided instructions. This distinctive approach helps in reprocessing the negative aspects of the memory, essentially repairing the mental injury. 

You can get the idea that remembering the traumatic event no longer feels like reliving it, and you begin to handle the associated feelings with much strength and resilience. 

Step-by-Step Procedure of EMDR Therapy at Boston Massachusetts’ Mental Health Treatment Centers

Now that you know “more than the basics” of EMDR therapy, you must have an idea of how an unresolved trauma needs quick healing to let you move past the disturbing past. It’s almost as if you’re starting fresh as someone whose memories aren’t just a pile of unexpected experiences. 


We get it! We understand it’s not a one-step procedure, and that you need great strength to resolve your trauma once and for all.

To give you a quick idea, here is how EMDR therapy is carried out at Massachusetts Mental Health Treatment Centers – clear and thorough! 

Eight Phases of EMDR Therapy

EMDR therapy involves eight phases conducted across multiple sessions. While early sessions primarily focus on phases 1 and 2, later sessions encompass phases 3 through 8. The duration varies: a single disturbing event may require 3 to 6 sessions, while more complex traumas might extend to 8 to 12 sessions or more. Each session typically lasts between one hour and 90 minutes. The eight phases guide the therapeutic process.

1. Initial Exploration

Patient History and Information Gathering

Purpose: Determine the suitability of EMDR therapy and identify specific traumatic events for focus.

2. Foundation Building 

Provide an understanding of EMDR sessions, set expectations, and equip the patient with emotional management tools.

Purpose: Establish stability and safety to prepare the patient for the upcoming therapy.

3. Focused Insight

Collaboratively identify themes and memories for reprocessing, and recognizing negative and positive beliefs.

Purpose: Lay the groundwork for targeted trauma processing and belief restructuring.

4. Memory Activation

Activate negative memories and guide the patient in exploring associated thoughts, feelings, and body sensations.

Purpose: Encourage adaptive processing, enabling you to explore new insights and emotions related to the traumatic memory.

5. Positive Reinforcement

The channel focuses on positive beliefs identified in earlier phases or newly recognized affirmations.

Purpose: Embed positive beliefs to counteract negative perceptions, contributing to overall emotional healing.

6. Physical Awareness

Heighten awareness of physical sensations linked to the negative memory, gauging progress in therapy.

Purpose: Monitor symptom reduction throughout sessions, signaling the completion of the reprocessing.

7. Providing Transitional Support

Establishing a bridge between sessions, discussing expectations, and providing tools for self-stabilization.

Purpose: Ensure the patient feels calm and secure before concluding a session, minimizing negative thoughts between appointments.

8. Reflective Evaluation

Review progress, assess current well-being, and determine the need for additional sessions or goal adjustments.

Purpose: Plan for future scenarios, equipping the patient with strategies based on newfound insights and coping mechanisms.

Wrap Up!

While it feels easy to escape your emotions and leave your trauma unresolved, we encourage you to get them out of your system. Once and for all – it’ll make more space for cherishing memories to recall. EMDR therapy, despite being a non-traditional psychotherapy, has yielded tremendous results for numerous patients with PTSD. 

Everyone deserves a refreshing start, right? So if you wish to heal beautifully, feel free to learn more about EMDR from the Resilience Behavioral Health. You can get in touch with the most helpful mental health provider right now by clicking here, or simply call 888.401.1179