EMDR therapy is a structured therapy that helps people suffering from trauma focus briefly on their trauma memory while experiencing bilateral stimulation, typically in the form of rapid eye movements. The technique is used to reduce the vividness of the trauma and the emotion associated with its memory.

At our various Braden Counseling Centers, we use EMDR therapy to treat a number of disorders, particularly those associated with post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). This form of therapy focuses directly on the specific memory, to change the way the memory is stored in the brain. The intention is to systematically reduce the traumatic memory until it dims, and problematic symptoms are eliminated. When successful, it alters the emotions, thoughts, and responses that result from the traumatic experience.

Typical Use of EMDR Therapy for Anxiety Associated with PTSD

EMDR therapy uses a structured, eight-phase process that includes:

  1. History taking
  2. Client preparation
  3. Assessment of traumatic memory
  4. Multiple steps to process target memory to adaptive resolution
  5. Evaluation of treatment results.

The initial processing of a specific traumatic memory usually takes one to three sessions, though more sessions are usually needed to successfully complete the entire process. Sometimes referred to as rapid eye movement therapy, EMDR does not include any extended focus or exposure to the traumatic event itself, nor does it challenge dysfunctional beliefs or assign homework. Instead, EMDR PTSD therapy attempts to lessen the memory’s impact by physically changing the way it is stored in the brain.

Phases of EMDR Therapy

Patient history and treatment planning are the first steps in using EMDR. First, one of our therapists works with you to receive a full history, then conduct an assessment and work together to identify treatment targets including past memories, current triggers, and treatment goals.

The next step is an explanation of the treatment that includes introducing the client to the various procedures, as well as teaching different imagery and stress reduction techniques that can be used during and between sessions. Maintaining client equilibrium in the face of rapid, effective change is a main goal of EMDR therapy.

During the third phase of EMDR therapy, the targeted memory is activated by identifying and assessing the components of the memory; image, cognition, affect, and body sensation. The Subjective Units of Disturbance (SUD) and the Validity of Cognition (VOC) scale are measures used during the session to evaluate changes in emotion and cognition.

During the next phases the client is first asked to identify three things:

  1. The vivid visual image related to the memory
  2. A negative belief about themselves
  3. Related emotions and body sensations

The client is also asked to identify a positive belief.

Following that, the client focuses on the memory while following procedures that desensitize the memory so that it is no longer distressing. They are then asked to concentrate on the positive belief while the installation phase strengthens that belief and lessens the negative thoughts.

In the next phase, referred to as the Body Scan, the client is asked to observe their physical response while thinking about both the event and the positive cognition and to identify any residual distress. If they experience any distress, additional procedures are used to process to process the disturbance.

Closing and Re-evaluating EMDR Sessions

An EMDR session finishes by assessing whether or not the targeted memory has been fully processed. If this is not the case, the therapist gives the client specific instructions and techniques to use to ensure their safety until the next session.

At that next session the therapist starts by evaluating the client’s current psychological state to see if last session’s progress has been maintained and what, if any, memories have emerged since the last session. We then work to identify targets for the current session.

The process is repeated as necessary to lessen the traumatic memory.

Does EMDR Therapy Cure PTSD?

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), EMDR therapy is effective for treating symptoms of PTSD, both acute and chronic. The APA goes on to say that EMDR therapy is particularly useful for people who have difficulty talking about the trauma that they have experienced. The APA also states that further study is required to understand the effects of EMDR therapy results over time.

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense issued a set of joint clinical practice guidelines which they strongly recommend when using EMDR for treatment of PTSD in military and non-military populations alike. The two departments noted that using EMDR therapy has shown to be as effective as other psychological treatments in a number of studies.

If you would like to find out more about this therapy alternative for PTSD, contact us today at Braden Counseling Center. We have five convenient locations in Oregon, Sycamore, Rochelle, Elgin, Geneva, and Bartlett.

What Our Clients are Saying.....

Braden Counseling’s staff is outstanding! The counselor conducted herself in a very friendly, courteous, and professional manner. I was treated with dignity and respect. I was put at ease and the evaluation went smoothly, and efficiently. I would definitely recommend Braden Counseling for all of your personal needs.😊
Gregory Link
Gregory Link
17:16 21 Jan 21
Excellent first visit with Dr. Braden.
Gary Duffett
Gary Duffett
21:18 19 Dec 20
My son liked his first visit and is open to going back again.
Veris Nicole
Veris Nicole
22:36 12 Oct 20
Very friendly and welcoming staff. Highly recommend
Jennifer Rosales
Jennifer Rosales
21:50 29 Jul 20
I could not be more satisfied with braden counseling with thier help. Very patient with clients in crisis and need of thier help.
randall nuckles
randall nuckles
15:12 09 Jul 20
I truly got the help I needed here and I appreciate all the staff member for making it a comfortable environment to feel free to talk about what's on your mind and making sure you get the proper help you need.
Majah’s Mayhem
Majah’s Mayhem
19:30 20 May 20
Not a recent time with them but ive been there for 6 or so years and loved them always helpful during trying times i greatly appreciate everything they do there.
Shawn Soby
Shawn Soby
21:28 09 Apr 20
Love the staff .. came here for help and they definitely made a point to take care of all my paper work I needed .. would highly recommend them mostly Nikki shes a great help with anything .. always so cheerfull here 🙂
miguel tovar
miguel tovar
00:58 17 Dec 19
All staff very nice, respectful, caring, patientWould definitely recommend
Zack Newby
Zack Newby
01:23 18 Nov 19
One word....AMAZING !Very Comprehensive and Professional service. I would Highly Recommend to any one in need.
Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry
16:58 10 Jul 19
Dr. Jane Braden was absolutely wonderful and help me though my whole dui process, made it easy and help me understand.thank you some much DR. Branden for everything, your the best !!!😜
Sean Battersby
Sean Battersby
18:46 12 Mar 19
Shout out to Nikki and Nicole. These special women are compassionate professionals and have earned my utmost respect. Braden Counseling is lucky to have them on staff. Also, Cindy at the front desk is amazing!
Angie Johnson
Angie Johnson
21:34 08 Oct 18
Friendly staff, very professional and results driven
Jeffrey Kerner
Jeffrey Kerner
13:53 01 Aug 17
Braden Counseling really cares about their clients! They offer discounts to military veterans which I believe shows their true caring nature! Its nice to have a local place for people to go for help!
Travis Velazquez
Travis Velazquez
22:27 12 Jan 17
Caring staff. Dr Braden was extremely compassionate and supportive during a difficult time. Recommend to anyone!
T Anderson
T Anderson
21:54 06 Apr 16
Braden Counseling center has the finest professionals around. I'd highly recommend their services should a need arise.
Ndisox
Ndisox
03:03 29 Mar 16
Braden Counseling is amazing! Very kind, very friendly staff. Treated me as though I'd been family. I'd recommend them to anyone!
Jessica jorgensen
Jessica jorgensen
22:34 24 Mar 16
They have amazing staff. They listen and help out so much I would recommend them to anyone .
Brad Jorgensen
Brad Jorgensen
22:33 24 Mar 16
The staff is very welcoming and friendly and professional when you walk through the door!! I had been dealing with some anxiety for some time.... I am so glad I went to Braden counseling my first visit there I felt a sense of being welcomed and actually listened to!! Needless to say when I walked out the door I felt a weight off my shoulders I haven't felt in sometime!! So thank you to your wonderful staff!! I would highly recommend Braden counseling to anyone who is looking for a great counselor to talk with and help with your mental health!!
Deborah Mccoy
Deborah Mccoy
19:00 24 Mar 16
I was an emotional wreck when I first went. I was nervous and probably not making a lot of sense. The staff seemed to understand and immediately put me at ease. By the time I left, life just didn’t seem so bad. Thank you Braden Center for being there.
Pam Pascolini
Pam Pascolini
15:57 24 Mar 16
The staff is friendly and courteous. I was amazed at how helpful they were. These people are top notch and very professional. I would highly recommend this office.
Tricia Hernandez
Tricia Hernandez
15:45 24 Mar 16
Braden Counseling Center has always been wonderful. Their front staff is very kind and helpful and Dr. Braden is nothing but professional during all encounters I have had with her. Their facility and staff care about providing quality services to their clients. I highly recommend them.
Amanda Poturalski
Amanda Poturalski
13:56 24 Mar 16
Would give this place more then 5 stars if I could. I Highly recommend them. Staff is amazing there and so helpful .
Master Shake
Master Shake
21:57 23 Mar 16
I highly recommend Braden Counseling. All the staff there is amazing and very sweet 🙂
Melissa Stathis
Melissa Stathis
21:48 23 Mar 16
Highly recommend this place. Very helpful and always courteous. Ms. Rogers is the best and has excellent skills with people to help them through a multitude of problems.
Sarah Schuyler
Sarah Schuyler
20:37 23 Mar 16
Amazing place! The counselors have helped me through some of my lowest points & the girl at the front desk, Cindy, is always super helpful, kind & courteous. Highly recommend!!!
Jennifer Alexander
Jennifer Alexander
19:54 23 Mar 16
I highly recommend Braden Counseling Center for all of you mental health needs! The staff is courteous, respectful and kind. Dr. Braden is one of the best clinical psychologists I have had the pleasure working with.
Wendy Hardesty
Wendy Hardesty
15:58 22 Aug 12