Center Pensées – French Psychotherapy Center in Berlin

EMDR therapies

What is EMDR therapy?

EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) uses a bi-alternating sensory stimulation (right-left) which is practiced by eye movements – the patient follows the therapist's fingers which pass from right to left in front of his eyes – to treat psychotraumatic disorders. EMDR therapy is a gradual, targeted method that reconnects clients with images, personal thoughts, emotions and physical sensations related to trauma in a safe and controlled way, and allows the brain to heal naturally, thereby treating the trauma. It is based on the idea that when trauma and other negative or difficult experiences inhibit the brain's natural healing capacity, symptoms appear and the healing process can be promoted and supplemented by stimulation of the brain.


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How does EMDR therapy work?

Step 1 of EMDR therapy


In order to move forward safely, two or three preliminary interviews are necessary before moving on to the “desensitization” phase (bilateral stimulations). During these first meetings with your psychologist you will get to know yourself and you will explore in detail the problem that brings you to consult.

Then, you will establish a “Cilage Plan”, in order to determine together the situation that you will reprocess with EMDR.

Stabilization techniques will also be put in place. For example, you will be asked to establish an exercise in imagination called the “safe place”.

Step 2 of EMDR therapy

Once step 1 is complete, the desensitization phase can begin. It is then up to the brain to work, you have nothing to control.

Your psychologist will ask you to follow the movement of their fingers with your eyes (or use another form of bilateral simulation, such as one with hearing headphones or hand-held buzzers depending on what is most comfortable for you) while remembering a part of the event that is difficult to process.

All difficult situations and triggers listed in step 1 will be reprocessed until you no longer feel any disturbance.

Desensitization sessions can be trying and we are committed to moving forward in complete safety and above all at your own pace. 

If you feel the need to take a break from desensitization sessions, do not hesitate to tell your psychologist. 

Step 3 of EMDR therapy

Once all the difficult situations and triggers have been addressed, it is finally a matter of reassessing whether the reprocessing has worked well and whether the desensitization is complete. If necessary, targeted reprocessing of a situation will be proposed.

Future scenarios will be put in place, depending on your problem.

The purpose of EMDR therapy

The goal of EMDR is to reduce the emotional burden associated with a traumatic memory or a difficult life event. It is not only used to treat and relieve trauma-related symptoms, but also to treat anxiety, stress and depression.

For nearly 30 years, EMDR therapy has proven its efficiency through very numerous scientific studies controlled studies implemented by researchers and clinical psychologists from around the world. It is mainly validated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is the scientific name for what is also more commonly called psychotrauma. As such, EMDR therapy is recommended by numerous national and international public authorities (HAS in a 2007 report, WHO since 2013, INSERM report in 2015)

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