Understanding How EMDR Therapy Affects the Brain

Understanding How EMDR Therapy Affects the Brain

Understanding How EMDR Therapy Affects the Brain

When it comes to treating trauma, traditional talk therapy may not always be enough. In these cases, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy can be an effective alternative. EMDR therapy is a type of psychotherapy that’s gaining popularity for helping individuals deal with past traumas and experiences. But how exactly does it work? In this blog post, we’ll explore how EMDR therapy affects the brain and helps individuals overcome trauma.

EMDR therapy helps reprocess traumatic memories

EMDR therapy is based on the idea that trauma memories are stored differently in the brain than regular memories. While regular memories are processed and stored in a linear fashion, traumatic memories are fragmented and disorganized. This can make it difficult for individuals to process and move on from traumatic events. EMDR therapy helps to reprocess these traumatic memories by connecting the fragmented pieces of the memory, allowing it to be processed properly and stored like a regular memory.

EMDR therapy stimulates both sides of the brain

EMDR therapy involves a process where the individual recalls the traumatic memory while simultaneously focusing on a specific eye movement, sound, or touch. This process is believed to stimulate both sides of the brain, allowing the individual to process the memory more effectively. This bilateral stimulation has been shown to activate the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory processing and consolidation, as well as the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for emotion regulation.

EMDR therapy reduces the emotional intensity of traumatic memories"

Another way that EMDR therapy affects the brain is by reducing the emotional intensity of traumatic memories. By reprocessing the memory and allowing it to be stored like a regular memory, the emotional charge of the memory is reduced. This means that the individual can recall the memory without the intense emotions that were once attached to it. This can be incredibly helpful for individuals who experience intrusive thoughts or flashbacks related to the trauma.

EMDR therapy can create new neural pathways”

EMDR therapy can also help to create new neural pathways in the brain. By reprocessing the traumatic memory and reducing the emotional intensity, the brain is able to form new connections and associations with the memory. This can help the individual see the memory in a new light and create new, more positive associations with it. This can be incredibly helpful for individuals who have been stuck in negative thought patterns related to the trauma.

EMDR therapy can improve overall mental health

Finally, EMDR therapy can improve overall mental health. By helping individuals process and move on from traumatic experiences, EMDR therapy can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD. This can improve overall quality of life and allow individuals to live more fulfilling lives.


EMDR therapy is a powerful tool for helping individuals overcome trauma. By reprocessing traumatic memories, stimulating both sides of the brain, reducing emotional intensity, creating new neural pathways, and improving overall mental health, EMDR therapy can help individuals move on from traumatic experiences and live more fulfilling lives. If you’re interested in learning more about EMDR therapy in Winter Park, FL, contact Orlando Thrive Therapy today. Our team of experienced therapists can help you explore your options and find the best treatment plan for your unique needs.

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Heather Oller

Heather Oller is the owner and founder of Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching, and Counseling. She is a licensed counselor and a family mediator who has over 23 years of dedicated work as a professional in the mental health field. Through her company's mission, she continues to pave the way for future therapists, and their clients, who want a higher quality of life....and who want to thrive, rather than just survive. You can contact Orlando Thrive Therapy at (407) 592-8997 for more information.