Therapist performing EMDR treatment on woman

How EMDR Treatment Can Help With Trauma, Anxiety, and More

EMDR is a therapy modality that uses bilateral stimulation and prolonged exposure to help people heal from traumatic events and a wide range of negative thoughts. Here’s a breakdown of EMDR and the research behind its effectiveness.

Are you tired of dealing with trauma and anxiety? Schedule an appointment at The Lukin Center today.

What Is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a treatment aimed at healing severe emotional pain. The pain can be caused by any traumatic event or condition related to fear. It has been used for trauma, anxiety, panic, PTSD, and more.

This new treatment helps people heal from the emotional pain that comes from traumatic experiences. When an emotional wound fails to heal, EMDR can clear any blockages that prevent healing. Then, true healing can begin.

The EMDR treatments consist of having the patient think of their traumatic experience while the therapist guides them in focusing and moving their eyes in a specific way to promote reprocessing the experience.

Evidence for EMDR Effectiveness

Does EDMR Work? 3 Studies That Prove its Effectiveness Infographic

Does EMDR work? The evidence for its effectiveness may surprise you. Although EMDR may sound like a strange, new solution to fear-provoking experiences, it has been shown to work extraordinarily well. Here’s the proof it helps for a few different conditions.

EMDR and Abuse Trauma

Abuse can cause severe trauma with effects that linger for the rest of your life. The emotional scars can last a lifetime. However, with EMDR treatment, you may be able to heal from those old wounds. In one experiment, all the participants were survivors of childhood sexual abuse. One-third of these women were given EMDR treatment, while the others were given traditional individual treatments or treatment was delayed. Those who received EMDR had better results than the control group right away.

Even better, after three months, the EMDR group scored better than the traditionally treated group as well.

Natural Disaster Survivors

Natural disaster survivors can experience trauma and resulting emotional pain. In one review article, eight studies showed that EMDR helped survivors of natural disasters have reduced symptoms of PTSD. In fact, in four of those studies, the results were evident after just one EMDR session.


Many studies have been done to determine if eye movement desensitization and reprocessing treatment would help people with PTSD. A review of the research suggested that EMDR was more effective than going without treatment, but it was also at least as or more effective than treatments like relaxation techniques or active listening.

In another study on EMDR treatment for PTSD, 67 participants suffering from PTSD were either given EMDR or standard treatments. The EMDR group had decreased symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other symptoms after just three treatment sessions. In addition, this group needed fewer medication and psychotherapy appointments.

A Kaiser Permanente study found that 100% of the participants who had a single trauma no longer could be diagnosed with PTSD after EMDR treatment. Furthermore, 77% of people who had repeated trauma no longer had PTSD after this treatment.

EMDR for Anxiety

EMDR can help with many forms of anxiety. In one study, people with generalized anxiety disorder were treated with EMDR. After treatment, the subjects’ anxiety symptoms dropped below the diagnostic level. That is, after treatment, their condition was so improved that they would not receive a diagnosis of GAD. Two of the participants showed no signs of GAD at all two months after EMDR treatment. Patients who had this treatment all had significant improvement in symptoms of worry and anxiety.

Could EMDR Help Me?

The best way to know if EMDR is right for you is to talk to a psychotherapist about it. They can listen to your symptoms, assess your emotional condition, and determine if it might help you. EMDR has helped people with a variety of mental health issues, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • PTSD
  • Sexual abuse or assault
  • Violent assaults or abuse
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Grief and loss
  • Performance anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Substance abuse

Signs of Trauma

If you’d like to understand more about what it means to have a traumatic experience, consider listening to this podcast on trauma. Trauma is at the heart of most conditions treated with EMDR. Thus, if you have experienced trauma, you may benefit from EMDR treatment. Trauma is a disturbing event that causes you extreme feelings of helplessness, fear, or confusion. You could have trauma if you have experienced or been threatened with injury, sexual assault, or the possibility of death.

Signs of trauma include:

  • Trouble functioning at work or home
  • Problems with concentration
  • Feeling ashamed, guilty, or hopeless
  • Being afraid, anxious, or depressed
  • Engaging in emotional outbursts
  • Relationship issues
  • Nightmares, flashbacks, or intrusive thoughts
  • Avoiding reminders of the trauma
  • Feeling numb
  • Using alcohol or drugs to mask your feelings

These symptoms may ring true for you, and you may be aware that you faced a traumatic experience in the past. If so, please contact us at Lukin Center for the help you need. Whether you benefit from EMDR treatment or some other modality, we can help you heal from your emotional wounds.

Severe Anxiety Symptoms

Whether anxiety is your main diagnosis or a component of another condition, EMDR can often help. Recognizing that you have anxiety issues is the first step to getting better. Here are the symptoms to watch for if you think you might have anxiety:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Sweating
  • Racing heart
  • Feeling out of control or disconnected
  • Panic attacks
  • Nightmares
  • Excessive worry or fear
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia or other sleep issues
  • Avoiding situations where you might experience anxiety symptoms
  • Gastrointestinal problems

Anxiety can prevent you from living a full life. It can make you feel uncomfortable all the time. One of the treatments available for severe anxiety is EMDR. Consider its effectiveness and think about whether a therapist using EMDR can help you overcome your feelings of worry, panic, and emotional pain.

EMDR Treatment at Lukin Center

At Lukin Center, we have psychotherapists who are trained to deliver Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy. We recommend this highly effective treatment to many of our patients, and they have seen a significant reduction in their symptoms.

The Lukin Center for Psychotherapy serves people in New Jersey and nearby New York areas. Our psychotherapists specialize in evidence-based approaches, including EMDR. Our team of therapists includes those who are trained and certified to provide EMDR treatment. However, if you need or prefer another type of treatment, our therapists can provide a wide range of therapies.

For premium mental health care, you can make no better decision than coming to the Lukin Center for Psychotherapy. Our goal is to provide the help that empowers you to live the life you choose. With our team working to give you the tools to improve your emotional and mental condition, you can live a more satisfying life and accomplish the goals you set for yourself.

Would you like to be free of trauma or anxiety symptoms? Contact us at The Lukin Center to find out how we can help.