Skip to main content

A variety of life events and traumatic experiences can cause emotional pain leading to feelings of anguish and distress. It’s an intense, deep-rooted feeling in the heart and soul that can linger for weeks, months, or even years.  Traumatic events such as bereavement, violence, abuse, or relationship breakup can cause emotional pain. It can also be caused by physical pain, guilt, fear, and even stress. At Southern Live Oak Wellness, we offer eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in Atlanta, Georgia to help clients who are struggling with emotional pain.

Woman holding up 2 fingers during EMDR therapy

What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)?

In 1987, Dr. Francine Shapiro made a remarkable discovery. She found bilateral eye movements could reduce the intensity of troubling thoughts. Her findings were published in 1989’s Journal of Traumatic Stress. Since then, EMDR therapy has become an established treatment approach for those suffering from trauma. It uses an advanced set of standardized protocols that combine elements from multiple therapeutic methods.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an eight-step specialized form of psychotherapy. It includes stages that range from history taking, to desensitization, to a body scan and closure and re-evaluation of the effects of the treatment for the client. EMDR helps individuals to process difficult emotions, memories, and traumatic events.

Through this type of therapy, clients can access deeper levels of understanding and insight into their experiences. Also, this multifaceted approach combines elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, and exposure therapy. Overall, emotional pain is a normal experience. However, everyone processes emotions and trauma differently.

EMDR is also an effective treatment for a variety of mental health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and phobias. Learning how to manage emotional pain is an important part of self-care and mental well-being.

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

When someone experiences emotional distress it can be difficult for their brain to move forward. Traumatic events often become ingrained in the mind, freezing time, and leaving lasting negative impacts on how an individual perceives themselves or relates to the world around them. EMDR therapy is a powerful tool for aiding the brain in processing traumatic experiences.

In contrast to other modes of therapeutic intervention, EMDR appears to be similar to what happens during sleep or dream states. It offers individuals an opportunity not only  to remember their past pain but also to begin understanding and responding differently when it’s brought up again. Through this form of treatment, clients gain insight into these events. As a result, they no longer feel overwhelmed by them nor does it consume their mental energy anymore.

How Long Does EMDR Therapy Take?

Our EMDR therapy in Atlanta, Georgia, requires one or more sessions for the therapist to determine whether it’s an appropriate treatment. During these 50 to 90 minute appointments, the therapist will discuss EMDR in greater detail. Also, they provide time to answer any questions a client may have about this approach. 

After evaluation, if both the client and the provider agree that EMDR would be beneficial as part of standard talk therapy, then actual therapeutic work can begin. Every individual has different needs when it comes to trauma resolution. Therefore, how many treatments are necessary varies on a case-by-case basis determined by life circumstances and past experiences. More severe trauma cases may take eight to 12 sessions or more.

What Does EMDR Therapy Treat?

At Southern Live Oak Wellness, we offer EMDR for individual sessions, as well as in a group setting during our Evening IOP.  EMDR effectively treats conditions caused by traumatic events. It’s well known for its success in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, it is also beneficial to those who struggle with a wide range of mental health conditions.

Other conditions EMDR therapy successfully treats include:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Depression and grief
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Disturbing memories
  • Phobias
  • Pain disorders
  • Performance anxiety
  • Stress reduction
  • Addiction
  • Sexual and/or physical abuse
  • Body dysmorphic disorders
  • Personality disorders

How Effective is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR consistently treats trauma and PTSD with most clients reporting significant improvement. EMDR has been well-researched and commonly recommended by leading psychiatric organizations, such as SAMHSA, as an effective therapy to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD.

With 24 controlled studies, EMDR continues to show significant positive results in clients feeling relief from their PTSD experience and associated issues like anxiety. Moreover, even government bodies such as the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the World Health Organization have embraced this therapeutic modality that improves lives.

What to Expect During EMDR Therapy

The phases of EMDR therapy create transformative healing and restoration. First, the therapist begins by taking note of a client’s history. They’ll discuss both recent events that evoke distress as well as past experiences. This evaluation allows them to gain an understanding of the best approach to treatment based on the client’s needs. In addition, the therapist educates the client on exactly how EMDR works. These preparatory steps ensure an optimal therapy experience.

Next, EMDR sessions begin. The therapist guides the client through finding their ‘safe place’—an inner sanctuary to help bring about feelings of calmness. Additionally, clients develop skills like disassociation they can use during periods of distress or anxiety. During these unique treatments, the client acclimates with left/right eye movements combined with relaxing imagery and thoughts. Consequently, these calming practice exercises empower them when they need it most.

During EMDR therapy, the therapist asks the client to bring up a traumatic event or memory deeply ingrained in their minds. While they focus on the image and any sensations associated with it, the therapist introduces rhythmic eye movements from side to side by moving their fingers slowly back and forth in front of them. This helps to shift disturbing memories into more peaceful thoughts and positive beliefs. Clients are awake and alert throughout the process. 

Over time, individuals feel better after undergoing numerous bilateral eye movements during each session. Trauma-releasing techniques such as EMDR can be extremely effective in helping clients to overcome previously distressing events. Also, through processing the memory, it is possible to achieve greater insight into why they have developed negative feelings and reach a peaceful resolution. As a result, this often leads to acceptance of the event, so safety and security may eventually return to one’s life again.

Woman undergoing EMDR therapy in Atlanta.

Discover Healing With EMDR Therapy in Atlanta, GA

Research shows EMDR helps with PTSD and a multitude of life traumas such as depression, anxiety, nightmares, grief, divorce, bullying, and abuse. Through our EMDR therapy in Atlanta, Georgia clients learn how to process difficult emotions and share experiences in a safe and supportive environment. We are here to help people heal from emotional pain and move forward with their lives.

Contact us today to learn more about EMDR therapy and how we can help.


Contact Us

Get the quality mental health treatment you deserve. Our compassionate staff is here to help you grow into the person you are meant to become. Reach out to Southern Live Oak Wellness today!

Call Us

Ready To Get Started

Take the first step towards the future you deserve.

Our Testimonials

What Our Clients Say

  • star star star star star

    I have so much to say about this wonderful place, but I’m sure my words will never do my experience justice. Southern Live Oak Wellness and it’s people not only helped me find myself again, but they saved my life.

    Alex M.

    Johns Creek, GA
  • star star star star star

    Southern Live Oak Wellness saved my life. The therapists genuinely care about the clients and helping them get better. Working on yourself is not easy, but the therapists help guide you and make you be able to work through whatever may be going on.

    Rachel S.

    Lawrenceville, GA
  • star star star star star

    I can easily say that Southern Live Oak wellness saved my life. I had hit rock bottom when I first got admitted and they helped me build myself up from nothing. I have learned how to cope with things I never thought I would be able to handle.

    Taylor R.

    Dallas, GA
    • star star star star star

      Going to SLOW has impacted my life in ways I never thought possible. I came for help with my mental state and came out with so much more; life skills, medical advice, mental health counseling and addiction treatment. SLOW is a whole life transformation program and I highly recommend it to anyone I know!

      Kaylan F.

      Kennesaw, GA
    • star star star star star

      When I was a part of this program, I had the most personal growth I’ve had in my entire life. All of the tech staff were willing to talk to me whenever I felt like I needed someone to talk to and the group sessions gave me multiple perspectives I never would’ve thought of from people in similar situations to me.

      Dylan C.

      Belleville, IL
    • star star star star star

      This place has changed my life. For the first time in my life I felt heard and cared about. The clinical staff is amazing. The groups are well structured. You learn a lot of different skills to help you in life this is the best mental health facility to come to.

      Ashley H.

      Brunswick, GA

      Contact Us

      Take the first step towards the future you deserve.