Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR)


What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an interactive psychotherapy technique that involves bringing your awareness to thoughts, feelings, and sensations associated with traumatic memories while your eyes move rapidly. Using time periods of 30 – 60 seconds, client’s follow a moving point of focus with their eyes. As the eyes move from left to right, a naturally occurring pattern of electrical activity in the brain is produced which bring about changes to stored trauma memories – typically making the memories less intense. The regions of the brain involved during EMDR are associated with emotional activation, sensory storage and reasoning. By increasing the activation of these parts of the brain, the patterns in our neural pathways can change. Our memories can become less emotionally intense, and the way we think about or make sense of our experiences can also change.

EMDR has been endorsed by international bodies including the Australian National Centre for Excellence in Post Traumatic Mental HealthInternational Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the National Health and Medical Research Council.

EMDR therapy is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). EMDR is also now widely used to treat a range of mental health issues including mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Who can benefit from EMDR therapy?

While the clients who will benefit the most from EMDR therapy experience PTSD or trauma, it can also benefits clients who have:

Before your EMDR therapy begins you may need to develop new skills to manage and reduce your emotional arousal. It’s important to note that some clients may not be suitable for EMDR therapy right away – sometimes other forms of therapy are required prior to commencing an EMDR treatment. 

How long does EMDR therapy take?

Before you undertake EMDR therapy, your therapist will need to know the nature of your issue before deciding if EMDR is an appropriate treatment. The number of treatment sessions you’ll need will depend on many variables, such as your current emotional experiences and the history of trauma in someone’s background. EMDR therapy is usually broken down into five different phases that include:1. History and treatment planning, 2. Preparation, 3. Assessment, 4. Treatment, 5. Evaluation.

EMDR at Cova Psychology

Cova Psychology specialises in a providing treatment through a trauma informed lens, and most of our therapists practice EMDR. The psychologists at Cova receive ongoing specialised EMDR supervision and training. As a team we stay informed regarding developments in the EMDR field by sharing new and emerging research. We are passionate about this form of therapy and have seen first hand how transformative and healing it can be.

Most often, we deliver EMDR treatment in person at our CBD Clinic in Melbourne. However, if attending in person is not possible for you, we may be able to offer EMDR via telehealth. Let us know your preference when you enquire.