Mar 30, 2023

EMDR Therapy for Trauma in San Francisco: What You Need to Know

Is a troubling or upsetting incident from your past still impacting your life? Do you experience night terrors, intrusive thoughts, or flashbacks? Has violence in previous relationships damaged your self-esteem and made you distrustful of other people or yourself?

The unhealed scars and unresolved memories in your life may impact your emotions, relations, and profession. You already know the kind of life you want—one characterized by happy relationships, suitable employment, and fulfilling pastimes. However, you become lost every time you progress toward the life you want. You feel too stuck or afraid to go forward when the past rears its ugly head.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can assist you in exploring your history and moving toward a better future if this type of life is one you are familiar with. The traumatic events we experience can have long-term and far-reaching effects. EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) is an evidence-based therapy that has proven to be highly effective for treating the lingering symptoms of trauma, such as depression, anxiety, flashbacks, or nightmares. EMDR Therapy in San Francisco is available from trained professionals who specialize in providing this treatment. It's a type of therapy that combines components from a few different psychotherapy and tap techniques to develop a practical treatment approach.

I am convinced that EMDR Therapy will be beneficial for you if you experience any of the following:

  • Considering the circumstances, you experience painful feelings that seem excessive to you or others.
  • You often have a strong emotional response to particular triggers or circumstances.
  • You may or may not be aware that you hold unfavorable views about yourself that, while untrue intellectually, resonate as accurate emotionally.

What is EMDR therapy, and what are its benefits for treating trauma victims?

EMDR therapy is a treatment for adults, adolescents, and children who have experienced psychological trauma. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a highly effective form of specialized treatment used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The EMDR procedure is based on the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) cycle of sleep, during which our brains process information from the past and present. EMDR allows patients to access their traumatic memory while engaging in eye movements at different speeds and directions. This helps the brain reprocess painful memories so they can finally be released.

In EMDR Therapy, a trained therapist will help the client to identify and process troubling memories, emotions, and physical sensations associated with traumatic experiences. EMDR uses bilateral stimulation – alternating auditory tones or light – to help bring awareness to past traumas while encouraging the brain's natural ability to heal. EMDR in San Francisco can help the client to gain insight into their own experiences and develop strategies for coping with trauma-related symptoms. 

The EMDR Therapy Process

Patient assessment, management, preparedness, evaluation, tolerance, implementation, physical movement, and closure are distinct aspects of the EMDR Therapy process. EMDR Therapy is not a one-size-fits-all approach – each person's experience will differ depending on individual needs and goals. Through EMDR Therapy in San Francisco, clients can expect to feel empowered to take control of their lives and move forward from past traumas. 

History taking

Your therapist will review your history to ensure EMDR is your proper treatment.

EMDR preparation

You'll learn relaxation, grounding, and self-calming techniques during EMDR sessions.

Targeting traumatic memories

Your therapist will target a specific traumatic memory that's causing your current distress with EMDR therapy.

Initial sets of eye movements

Eye movement begins as your therapist directs you to move your eyes from side to side in specific intervals while recalling the traumatic event and associated feelings.

Processing the trauma

As the EMDR session progresses, more eye movements are directed until. Eventually, you come to a point where no more uncomfortable emotions or thoughts arise when thinking about the initial trigger for EMDR Therapy in San Francisco.

EMDR integration

Once EMDR is complete, your therapist will help you integrate the newfound understanding, knowledge, and feelings gained during EMDR therapy into your daily life.

EMDR Therapy in San Francisco can help you better understand the past and move through trauma to find new strength and resilience in yourself. With EMDR, you'll be able to break free from mental loops of pain and suffering that have kept you stuck for too long.

What occurs during a session of EMDR therapy?

The brain and central nervous system are used by EMDR therapy. The therapist assists the client in concentrating on the memories, ideas, and emotions associated with their traumatic experience. The therapist supervises the process while the client focuses on these memories and sensations to achieve a state of 0 distress or activation when you think about the encounter. The idea is to recall a previously upsetting event without feeling emotionally overwhelmed or triggered.

You are not compelled to share specifics of traumatic incidents if you do not wish to, which is a massive benefit of EMDR therapy. If it's just too difficult for you to do so, your counselor can still use it to aid in your healing without requiring you to speak the specifics aloud.

Is there anything I can do to get ready for my first session?

It is unlikely that you will start reprocessing your trauma during the first session when this is your first time receiving EMDR therapy or therapy in general. It may take a few sessions until you and your therapist decide that you are ready to start processing trauma and upsetting situations.

Your therapist will ask you many questions about yourself during your first session, including what issues you are presently dealing with and whether you have made any links between these issues and earlier experiences. You and your therapist will decide which memories or "targets" might be helpful to explore first and what is required to help you get ready.

The treatment strategy and initial goal must be determined first. Your therapist will then lead you through reprocessing once you've acquired the abilities you need to go forward. You'll reprocess images, thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations associated with the experience you wish to work on by performing back-and-forth eye movements.

It's crucial to understand that while specific memories can be processed entirely in a single session, others may require several. Types of trauma, age at the time of the encounter, and support system are just a few of the many variables that play a role. It's critical to approach EMDR therapy with an open mind to your unique process rather than assuming that issues will be "fixed" or "treated" immediately.

Can EMDR Be Used to Treat Other Mental Health Problems as Well?

EMDR is effective in treating a variety of conditions in addition to trauma and PTSD, including:

  • Fear Attacks
  • Difficult Grief
  • Disorders of Dissociation
  • Bad dreams
  • Unsettling Recalls
  • Nervousness
  • Disorders of Pain
  • Performance phobia
  • Alcoholism
  • Stress management
  • Domestic or Sexual Violence
  • Disorders of Body Dysmorphia
  • Psychological disorders

Are there any risks associated with EMDR therapy?

EMDR therapy is generally considered a safe and well-tolerated treatment. However, like any other type of therapy, EMDR may not be suitable for everyone. It's important to understand that EMDR can sometimes cause intense feelings or physical responses in some people during treatment. If you experience uncomfortable symptoms, it's essential to speak to your EMDR therapist right away. EMDR therapy can also bring up previously unresolved trauma, which may cause severe emotional distress. In these cases, it's essential to have a supportive therapist and other treatment resources available to help you cope with the emotions that arise.

For those seeking EMDR therapy in San Francisco, there are many experienced EMDR therapists, such as Dr.Cammy, available to provide the help you need. EMDR therapy can safely and effectively address trauma, PTSD, and other mental health issues. It's essential to take the time to find an EMDR practitioner with whom you feel comfortable and that is experienced in treating your particular case. With EMDR, you can explore difficult memories without feeling overwhelmed and start on your journey toward relief from trauma-related symptoms.


Trauma, PTSD, and other mental health conditions can be treated with the help of EMDR therapy. It's essential to have a supportive therapist and other supports accessible to help you deal with the emotions that surface during EMDR treatment. It might cause significant sentiments or bodily reactions in some patients. Those searching for EMDR therapy in the region can get assistance from EMDR therapists in San Francisco, like Dr. Cammy. It's critical to take the time to choose an EMDR practitioner who you feel comfortable working with and who has experience handling your specific situation.

You might inquire further about how Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing can benefit you. We can respond to your questions! Contact us at 800-908-7890 or schedule your free appointment to begin therapy with Dr. Cammy.