What is EMDR Therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing “EMDR” therapy is a well-researched treatment for various mental health issues. EMDR targets traumatic memories that become “locked” in the brain, as well as symptoms associated with these memories, such as flashbacks, recurring nightmares, and disturbing thoughts and emotions. These memories form when an individual is under significant stress, such as experienced during a violent event, abuse, rape, accident, and bullying,

EMDR utilizes a comprehensive, structured, and integrative psychotherapy approach. This therapy integrates techniques from well-established and researched therapies. Specifically, EMDR therapy relies on changing information processing. During eight phases of treatment, the therapy focuses on healing past disturbing experiences, current experiences that trigger distressing emotions, maladaptive beliefs and uncomfortable bodily sensations, and enhancement of positive behaviors and thinking processes. Many randomized studies support the effectiveness of EMDR therapy in the treatment of PTSD.

What is an EMDR session like?

During a treatment session, various treatment components are integrated into a protocol depending on your symptoms. “Bilateral stimulation” relies on bilateral eye movements, listening to tones, or tapping on knees or shoulders (i.e. butterfly tap). Dual attention stimulus processing allows you to focus simultaneously on traumatic material while keeping grounded in the present moment. EMDR movements are believed to stimulate the brain to cause changes in emotions and cognitive patterns.

During the treatment phases, you focus momentarily on specific memories or future situations while engaging in the dual stimulation. People often find that their memories become altered and that their associations to disturbing events change in a positive direction.

After processing, people frequently experience relief related to the distressing memories and improved emotional functioning that have profound and enduring impacts.

What should I expect in EMDR therapy? 

Dr. Mazzei has successfully used EMDR therapy with many individuals to overcome their traumatic pasts and to resolve emotional issues. She will first meet with you for an initial consultation. At this session, you will start your therapeutic relationship together and learn more about EMDR. Dr. Mazzei will gather information about your situation, your history, and your goals for therapy.

EMDR has a structured treatment protocol to ensure that you are stabilized while processing difficult material. EMDR therapy encompasses 8 phases, which Dr. Mazzei will guide you through.

  • History and Treatment Planning
  • Preparation
  • Assessment
  • Desensitization
  • Installation
  • Body Scan
  • Closure
  • Reevaluation

Dr. Mazzei will support you during each stage of treatment as she facilitates your memory reprocessing. She will ensure that you have a safe space during therapy and discuss any issues that can come up while processing your trauma history. EMDR typically occurs weekly or you may prefer an EMDR intensive when you engage in therapy multiple times per week. During your work together, you will learn new coping skills, develop insight into your past, and facilitate personal growth.

Courtesy of EMDR International Association

How do I get started?

The best place to start is by speaking to our staff, who can discuss how EMDR therapy might benefit you, answer any questions about EMDR therapy, and schedule a confidential appointment with Dr. Mazzei. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call or contact us today.

Connect with us

Evolutions Behavioral Health Services is conveniently located at 3120 N. Arizona Ave. Suite 103, Chandler, AZ. Additionally, Dr. Mazzei offers teletherapy for online EMDR treatment. You can reach us at (480) 448-6755.