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Severe emotional pain can take a long time to heal, however there is effective treatment available so that you don't have to suffer anymore. At Trauma Recovery Services of Arizona, located in Goodyear, Arizona, board-certified counselors provide eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) treatments to help you to unblock your memories and process them to move towards a productive and healthy life.

What is EMDR?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of psychotherapy that is an effective treatment for mental health conditions including trauma, anxiety, addiction disorders, and more. EMDR includes eight stages focusing on the past, present, and future that you move through at your own pace.

How Does EMDR Work?

EMDR is an 8 phase treatment.  A TRSA counselor will complete an assessment to determine what brings you into therapy. Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during some parts of the treatment.  The treatment combines rapid and repetitive eye movements with talk therapy. Your eye movements stimulate your brain in a way that is very similar to REM sleep, which enables you to reprocess negative or traumatic memories into a more manageable state. In other words, wounds are not just healed, but transformed.

The treatment accelerates your emotional and intellectual processing of the memories, providing you with improved insight and the ability to adjust your mental framework for the memory. For example, if you experienced an assault, EMDR can help you transform your self-perception from being a victim to being a survivor.

The eye movements in EMDR enable your brain to reprocess the traumatic memory and resolve your thoughts and feelings about the trauma. While you still remember the event, the memories become less painful and distressing. Your symptoms lessen, and you’re able to adjust your behavior to return to a healthy, active, and fulfilling life.

What Happens During a(n) EMDR Session(s)?

During your initial appointments, our counselors take your history to determine which memory you will target (work on). This involves three time periods: past, present and the future.  The counselor will ask you about past disturbing memories (or felt sensations, experiences) and related events.  She will ask you about current situations that cause you distress. 


The counselor may teach you various skills & work on new attitudes, beliefs needed for future actions and to handle emotional distress.  They may do this by teaching you imagery and stress reduction techniques. They will help you feel confident about your time in between sessions.  The counselor will review the physical logistics of EMDR.


In additional phases of EMDR, we will work with you on the targeted memory, which requires the following from you:

1. Either a vivid visual image or felt sense of the memory/experience

2. A negative belief about yourself

3. Related emotions, bodily sensations, triggers

4. A positive belief about yourself

5. Rating of the beliefs and distress associated with them.

Once all of the foundational work has been done, you will be instructed to focus on the image/felt sense, thought, and bodily sensations while simultaneously engaging in EMDR processing using sets of bilateral stimulation.  These sets may include eye movements, taps or tones.  The type and length of the set(s) are different for each client.

You will discuss what comes up in each set.  Depending on what comes up, the counselor will choose the next focus of your attention.  This may occur numerous times during the session.  We will watch you carefully and be present with you to manage whatever comes up and if there is distress, our counselors will help you get back on track. 

You may be asked to keep a log between sessions. You start each 50-90 minute session by discussing the previous appointment and how you’ve felt since then. Your progress will be reviewed periodically to determine how many more sessions of EMDR we recommend for you.

How Long Will I be in Treatment?

Every case is unique. 

The current research states the following, "The length of treatment depends upon the number of traumas and the age of PTSD onset.  Generally, those with single event adult onset trauma can be successfully treated in under 5 hours.  Multiple trauma victims may require a longer treatment time."

What is EMDRIA?

The EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) is a membership organization of mental health professionals dedicated to the highest standards of excellence and integrity in EMDR. Purpose. Core Purpose: To advance the education, practice, and science of EMDR.  Our owner-Jordanna is a professional member of EMDRIA and participates in several Special Interest Groups (SIG) including EMDR & Dissociative Disorders, Research, EMDR & the Body, EMDR & Positive Psychology, EMDR and the Military, EMDR and First Responders.  Jordanna is also EMDR Certified and committed to quality and accessible counseling to resolve trauma.

If you want to know more about EMDR and how it can help you, call Trauma Recovery Services of Arizona to schedule an appointment.

Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal.  EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.  When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound.  If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.  The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.

More than 30 positive controlled outcome studies have been done on EMDR therapy.  Some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions.  Another study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions. There has been so much research on EMDR therapy that it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense. Given the worldwide recognition as an effective treatment of trauma, you can easily see how EMDR therapy would be effective in treating the “everyday” memories that are the reason people have low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, and all the myriad problems that bring them in for therapy. Over 100,000 clinicians throughout the world use the therapy.  Millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 25 years.

EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment.  Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during one part of the session.  After the clinician has determined which memory to target first, he asks the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use his eyes to track the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across the client’s field of vision.  As this happens, for reasons believed by a Harvard researcher to be connected with the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, internal associations arise and the clients begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings. In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level.  For instance, a rape victim shifts from feeling horror and self-disgust to holding the firm belief that, “I survived it and I am strong.”  Unlike talk therapy, the insights clients gain in EMDR therapy result not so much from clinician interpretation, but from the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes.  The net effect is that clients conclude EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experiences that once debased them.  Their wounds have not just closed, they have transformed. As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the clients’ thoughts, feelings and behavior are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution—all without speaking in detail or doing homework used in other therapies.

(n.d.). What is EMDR? Retrieved from


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