A Look Into EMDR

What happens in a typical EMDR session?

EMDR is a specific protocol that requires the therapist undergo intensive training in order to become certified. During an EMDR session, a certified therapist will engage the client in some form of bilateral stimulation while they focus on a specific traumatic memory. Bilateral stimulation is theorized to engage and connect the brain’s two hemispheres as it processes the trauma, and can involve moving the eyes from side to side, hearing a tone that alternates between ears, or tapping that alternates on each side of the body. The aim is to access and reprocess the trauma, allowing the individual to create new, adaptive associations and perspectives. In turn, clients strengthen their ability to cope with the emotional distress. 

Benefits of EMDR:

  1. Trauma recovery: Reduction in avoidance of reminders of trauma, changes in cognition and beliefs around trauma, reduction in hyperarousal symptoms.

  2. Reduction in anxiety and panic: Similar to CBT and ACT approaches, as clients willingly approach the traumatic memory and associated feelings of discomfort including anxiety and panic, they increase their ability to sit with anxiety. With EMDR, the distressing emotions around a traumatic memory typically reduce dramatically on their own through the reprocessing in a single session.

  3. Enhanced self-compassion: Clients may find they are more capable of showing themselves compassion, and may begin to reclaim a sense of agency and empowerment in their lives.

  4. Accessible care for those who struggle to articulate thoughts: Because EMDR is not an approach that relies on a great deal of talking, clients who struggle to articulate their thoughts may find this modality beneficial.

  5. Accelerated healing : EMDR, like CBT approaches, is a short term modality. A typical course of treatment is typically somewhere between 6-12 sessions.


Our very own Dr. Terra Fuhr is EMDR trained. She decided to pursue training back in 2017 because she saw several colleagues find great success using EMDR. In her experience, she has found EMDR can help clients break through in places where they may have gotten stuck with CBT approaches alone. She is grateful to have an additional evidence based approach in her tool kit to help tailor treatment to each clients’ individual needs.To make an appointment with Dr. Fuhr, please use our website contact form or call the clinic line at (858) 354-4077.


If you or someone you love might benefit from eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), or biofeedback for anxiety, depression, stress, or PTSD, or if you would like more information about our therapy services, please contact us at (858) 354-4077 or at csamsandiego@gmail.com.

For more information about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, visit The EMDR Institute.



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