What Is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (or EMDR) is a powerful recent psychotherapy technique which has been very successful in helping people suffering from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, and post-traumatic stress. Until recently, these conditions were difficult and time-consuming to treat.

EMDR currently has more scientific research as a treatment for trauma than any other non-pharmaceutical intervention. Based on empirical evidence as well as thousands of client and clinician testimonials, EMDR has proven an effective and rapid method of reprocessing traumatic experiences.


Jeffrey peyton is an EMDR-trained psychotherapist, with specialized training in the use of EMDR with adolescents.


How do I know if I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

PTSD is a disorder that often develops after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal – one in which intense physical or psychological harm occurred or was threatened.

PTSD can also result after someone has witnessed an event that is disturbing, distressing, or dangerous. Sufferers of this disorder have persistent, frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal.

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To understand EMDR therapy, it’s important to first understand how PTSD can impact people. People who have developed this type of disorder feel they are “re-experiencing” the event or exhibit avoidance symptoms, which can include:

  • Flashbacks of the event

  • Nightmares and bad dreams

  • Uncontrollable and frightening thoughts about the event

  • Avoidance of people, activities, or places that remind them of the traumatic experience

  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that makes them think of the event

  • Irritability, aggressive behavior, angry outbursts

  • Feeling guilt, shame, or worry about the event

What problems and symptoms that can be helped by EMDR?

  • Anxiety and panic attacks

  • Depression

  • Social anxiety

  • Memories of a traumatic experience

  • Fear of being alone

  • Unrealistic feelings of guilt and shame

  • Fear of being alone

  • Difficulty in trusting others

  • Relationship problems

  • Performance anxiety/fear of public speaking

What is the History of EMDR?

Since the initial medical study in 1989, positive therapeutic results with EMDR have been reported with the following populations:

  • People who have witnessed or been a victim to a disaster (accidents, earth quakes, fires, murder, gang related violence)

  • Clients suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)

  • Victims of auto accidents

  • Individuals who have experienced sexual assault

  • Suffers of panic disorders and anxiety attacks

  • Suffers of phobias

  • Chemically dependent clients

  • Persons exposed to excess loss (loss by death, divorce, loss of a house by fire)

  • Crime victims and police officers who were once overcome with violent memories

  • Accident or burn victims

How Does EMDR Work?

EMDR therapy uses alternating bilateral stimulation (ABS), which repeatedly activates the opposite sides of the brain, releasing emotional experiences that are "trapped" in the nervous system. This assists the neurophysiological system (the basis of the mind/body connection) to free itself of blockages and reconnect itself.

At Peyton Counseling, we utilize a device called a “Theratapper” to provide the tactile bi-lateral stimulation. The device is connected to two small hand-held pulsers, which vibrate in an alternating fashion to provide a gentle tactile stimulation which many find soothing and relaxing. The stimulation is comparable to the vibration of a pager or cell phone.

Your therapist works gently with you and asks you to revisit the traumatic moment or incident, recalling feelings surrounding the experience, as well as any negative thoughts, feelings and memories. 

As troubling images and feelings are processed by the brain during the EMDR treatment, memories are experienced in a safe, supportive space, as the bi-lateral stimulation helps the brain reintegrate the memories in a new and non-reactive way.

While the memory of the events remain, the previously painful feelings of anxiety and fear which accompanied the memory are reduced or eliminated, being replaced with positive images, emotions and thoughts.

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What other therapy works with EMDR?

The EMDR technique is most effective when used in conjunction with other psychotherapies which treat these and many other emotional disorders.

Specifically at Peyton Counseling, we integrate Gestalt Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), and Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT) as effective supports to EMDR.

How to Get Help

One of the benefits of EMDR is that it has been shown to help trauma survivors with post traumatic stress disorder heal faster than through traditional therapy. Look at these amazing results:

  • One study revealed 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer had PTSD 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 were no longer diagnosed with PTSD after six 50-minute sessions

  • A third study showed that 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions

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This means that relief from the anxiety and fear of traumatic events is not only possible, but it can be obtained in a relatively short amount of time.

If your son or daughter may be suffering from traumatic stress, please contact us to schedule an initial consultation. Relief is possible!