Ask a Therapist: “What is EMDR?” (answered by Dr. Rohini Gupta)

Today Dr. Rohini Gupta continues our popular series, “Ask a Therapist” by telling us about EMDR, a research-validated treatment for trauma and anxiety.

Francine Shapiro, a psychologist and educator, founded EMDR. During a walk in the park she noticed that moving her eyes back and forth was a calming experience and reduced negative thoughts and feelings. She eventually developed a standard procedure known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). It is an effective treatment for those who have experienced a disturbing event or trauma.

When a disturbing event or trauma occurs in one’s life, the event can become locked in the nervous system with all the original sensations-the image, sounds, thoughts, and feelings associated with the event. Because this experienced is locked, it can be triggered when a reminder of the event is present, leading to much discomfort and negative emotions. You may even feel out of control.

With EMDR, bilateral stimulation (eye movement or tapping back and forth for example) can unlock the nervous system. This can allow the mind and body to process the experience that is being triggered from the past. This bilateral stimulation can also process unconscious material, information not known to you.

In a safe and supportive environment, EMDR can be an effective treatment and many studies have shown its efficacy. It has received world wide attention and not only can help people heal from traumatic events such as rape, sexual abuse, auto accidents and combat but also events that have been distressing in one’s life such as grief, loss, and divorce.

~ Dr. Rohini Gupta


Dr. Gupta is a therapist at The Catalyst Center, her clinical specialties include:

The Catalyst Center has several therapists who are trained in EMDR. For more information, or to book a free consultation contact us 720-675-7123.