About EMDR

What is EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

Desensitize = to make insensitive or less sensitive

Reprocess= process again differently, reclaim and/or re-organize.

EMDR therapy works with your brain’s natural mechanisms to identify, reprocess, and resolve traumatic and stressful experiences, so you don’t need to continually relive them in your life. EMDR also helps to increase emotional regulation and body relaxation through regular use of body centered activities.

EMDR therapy has been shown to HELP people in three (3) main ways:

Past: Reprocessing the past to adjust the way the brain and body react to an event

Present: Working through current triggers to reduce their current level of distress

Future: Planning, problem-solving, and skill-building for future scenarios

What are we desensitizing and reprocessing?

Implicit memories related to traumatic events that are emotionally unprocessed and potentially causing body and mind distress.

Introduction to EMDR Therapy. Video length 9:42 minutes. RECOMMENDED First video.
What is EMDR Therapy – Video length 3:20 minutes


Ellen, you know and utilize other trauma psychotherapy models. Why do you like to utilize the EMDR model?

  • Self-directed.
  • Consent driven.
  • Creates a safe space for processing of difficult and challenging memories.
  • Holistic Healing that involves cognitions (thoughts), emotions and
  • Utilizes and engages the brain and body’s natural way of healing.
  • Has a generalizing effect once you have worked on resolving formative experiences, people may experience positive ripple effects in other areas of their life.

The Four Healing Salves

The Four Healing Salves

Anthropologist Angeles Arrien, said that when someone fell ill in many indigenous cultures and went to a healer, the healer would ask them a series of four questions:

· When did you stop dancing?

·When did you stop singing?

·When did you stop telling your story?

·When did you stop sitting in silence?”

These questions refer to what is known as the four universal healing salves.  These salves can “return to us qualities of wonder, hope, and awe” (The Four-Fold Way, Angeles Arrien).

It is important to remember that indigenous cultures and methods of healing have been around for thousands of years!

Indigenous cultures have known to have a respect for the environment where we heal, which is critical for our long-term survival. I strongly believe that our inherent and natural knowledge is necessary and the key to our individual and collective healing as people.

I believe…

(and incorporate into my practice as a therapist)

  • Our bodies and minds hold natural abilities to heal.
  • Rhythm is regulating.
  • Healing happens in safe environments and relationships.
  • We heal in connection with others.

These beliefs are also supported by current developmental and psychological neuroscience.

Dr. Bruce Perry, a psychiatrist and co-author with Oprah Winfrey of “What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing” says we need bodily sensing exercises.

Developmental trauma happens in the body, where pre-conscious “implicit memory” was laid down in the primitive brain stem (survival brain) and viscera.

Dr. Perry states, “Patterned, repetitive, rhythmic somatosensory activity… elicits a sensation of safety. Rhythm is regulating. All cultures have some form of patterned, repetitive rhythmic activity as part of their healing and mourning rituals — dancing, drumming, and swaying.

“EMDR and bilateral tapping are variations of this patterned, repetitive rhythmic, somatosensory (body sensory) activity… We believe that they are regulating in part because they are tapping into the deeply ingrained, powerful permeating associations created in utero.”

How traditional djembe drumming can help heal trauma | Francis Agyakwa (16:22 minutes)

Link to Frequently Asked Questions (CLICK HERE: https://ellenswright.com/frequently-asked-questions/)