Overcoming dormant and present traumas with EMDR Therapy

overcoming dormant and present traumas with EMDR therapy Grand Rapids

Overcoming dormant and present traumas with EMDR Therapy

by Joshua Nave LLMSW

“What is EMDR and how does it work?” Of all the therapies I have used to work with clients and their families, I have been questioned about EMDR the most. In this blog, I’ll take a little bit of time to explain briefly what EMDR is, the principles behind it, and whether or not it’s right for you.

EMDR, otherwise known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a therapy develop by Francine Shapiro to assist individuals in resolving their trauma and other disruptive life events. EMDR is a process developed with the fundamental belief that the body has the natural capacity to heal itself. By activating the part of our brains responsible for processing information, EMDR focuses on reprocessing memories, emotions, and even body sensations that have become “stuck” in our conscious and even sometimes subconscious memories. This is achieved through sessions where the therapist guides the client through the use of rapid eye movements, such as those found in the REM cycle of sleep.

By activating the part of our brains utilized in the REM cycle, remaining conscious of the present, and allowing our disturbing memories to come to light, the body naturally begins to process and heal itself from these memories.  EMDR does not rid us of the memory, instead, EMDR helps us heal to the point where the memory no longer bothers us. If you are someone who suffers from persistent triggers and reminders of past memories and disruptive life events, EMDR may be right for you.

I have utilized EMDR to assist individuals in processing specific life events, processing negative cognitions (thoughts) and beliefs, and even long forgotten memories that still have lasting impacts on us today.  If you wish to change your beliefs about yourself, reduce anxiety/depression/fear/anger associated with past hurts, or even simply come to new positive realizations about yourself, EMDR could be just what you’re looking for!

Some studies have suggested that EMDR is even effective with children as young as 1 year of age (Adler-Tapia, 2017), as again, this therapy focuses on activating our natural capacity to heal from pain that all of us possess.  I myself have seen EMDR make progress with children as young as 18 months! In a later blog, we will focus on how EMDR looks similar with children, as well as, areas it differs.

If you are interested in a consultation to determine if EMDR could help you, please feel free to schedule an appointment with me today!

That’s all for now; I hope you all learned something about EMDR, as well as came away feeling encouraged that you too can heal and have a more fulfilled life!

Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids provides counseling and psychotherapy to the Grand Rapids Michigan community.


Alder-Tapia, Robbie. Settler, Carolyn. (2017). EMDR and the art of psychotherapy with children: Infants to adolescents. New York. Springer Publishing Company.

Shapiro, Francine. (2019). EMDR institute inc. Retrieved from https://www.emdr.com/francine-shapiro-ph-d/

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