Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) in Burlington

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is based on the idea that past upsetting memories can become “stuck” in the brain’s processing system, leading to symptoms like anxiety, depression and distress. It draws on the body’s natural ability to heal itself, with the recognition that sometimes healing gets “blocked” and requires an extra tool in order to get back on track.

When we encounter something in our present lives that reminds us of past traumatic experiences that are unprocessed, our bodies and brains react similarly to when the traumatic event occurred.

EMDR helps the brain neatly organize all of our upsetting thoughts, feelings and memories of an event so that they aren’t impacting us now.

EMDR uses a protocol of focusing on a memory or stressful trigger and then uses bilateral stimulation (eye movements left and right, alternating tapping, tones or music) to help you effectively work through the emotions and beliefs attached to these memories.

Aside from reducing the emotional charge related to your past memories, EMDR also helps people increase their connection to positive thoughts and feelings, thereby enhancing their resilience and ability to face future events in a more balanced way.

How EMDR Works

EMDR is an evidence based treatment for a variety of mental health concerns including trauma and PTSD, adverse childhood experiences, abuse and neglect, anxiety, depression, phobias, grief and loss, sleep problems.


Sometimes, our brains and bodies respond to stressful or traumatic experiences by blocking out related memories. When you really think about it, blocking out or forgetting memories that we don’t have the capacity to process is a survival skill that makes a lot of sense.

You can still do EMDR therapy even if you don’t have vivid memories of what happened. Your therapist is trained to meet you where you’re at and work with what you are able to access.

EMDR therapy is able to be completed through both virtual and in person sessions. Research has shown that virtual EMDR therapy is just as effective as in person therapy. When doing EMDR virtually, your therapist will review some considerations with you to ensure effectiveness.

Virtual EMDR isn’t the best fit for everyone, but you and your therapist will determine this together.

EMDR works with your brain to process the upsetting thoughts, feelings and sensations that are related to past trauma. It cannot help you erase painful memories from your awareness or make you think that upsetting past situations weren’t actually upsetting. EMDR is also unable to reverse organic brain-based challenges such as traumatic brain injuries.

EMDR is shown in research to have faster results than some other forms of trauma therapy. It is also shown to bring about positive outcomes for individuals who have felt “stuck” when engaging in other forms of therapy. With this said, EMDR isn’t just a quick fix. Depending on the depth of one’s upsetting past experiences and some other factors, therapy length can range from a few sessions to over one year.