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EMDR THERAPY LOS ANGELES: Effective Trauma Treatment 

Effective trauma treatment can help you look at life in a totally new way, helping you heal from past traumatic experiences and distressing events from the past and break free from the grip they have on your daily life, giving you a new way to look at things and a better quality of life. 

EMDR Therapy Los Angeles

EMDR therapy offers a unique and powerful approach to addressing trauma and improving mental health. Through bilateral stimulation, which can be achieved through eye movements, sounds, or taps, EMDR therapy activates the brain's natural healing processes. It helps create new neural networks that can replace old and harmful memories with positive beliefs, resulting in profound and lasting transformation.

EMDR therapy, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a powerful and innovative form of treatment for trauma and mental health issues. It was initially developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Francine Shapiro and has gained recognition as one of the most effective therapeutic techniques.

At its core, EMDR therapy focuses on addressing past traumatic experiences and their lingering impact on an individual's mental health. The therapeutic process involves bi-lateral stimulation, such as eye movements or audio tones, to stimulate the brain's adaptive information processing system. This technique helps individuals reprocess traumatic memories and form new neural networks that promote healing and resilience.

Studies have shown that EMDR therapy can have a profound impact on the treatment of trauma-related symptoms. It has been found to effectively reduce the distress associated with traumatic memories, alleviate anxiety and depressive symptoms, and improve overall mental well-being.

What sets EMDR therapy apart from traditional forms of talk therapy is its ability to rapidly access and process traumatic memories, enabling individuals to make significant progress in a shorter amount of time. It offers a unique and reliable way to address trauma that may have been resistant to other therapeutic approaches.

By engaging the brain's natural healing capacity, trauma therapy can help individuals break free from the emotional pain and grip of past traumas and regain control over trauma triggers in their lives. Working with a trauma therapist can be a valuable resource for those who are currently struggling with a variety of mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Benefits of EMDR Therapy

EMDR therapy offers numerous benefits in addressing various forms of trauma and promoting mental health. At Oliver Drakeford Therapy, based in Los Angeles, our EMDR-certified therapists often incorporate EMDR therapy into their therapeutic approach with clients struggling with dissociative disorders, relationship difficulties, even substance abuse and disturbing memories. We see the impact that Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing has on the lives of our clients on a daily basis.

1. Effective Processing of Traumatic Memories

EMDR therapy facilitates the reprocessing of traumatic memories, allowing individuals to gain new perspectives and insights. Through bi-lateral stimulation, such as eye movements or other forms of sensory input, EMDR prompts the brain to process distressing memories. This processing enables individuals to detach intense emotions from traumatic events, resulting in decreased distress and increased resilience.

2. Reduction of Emotional Disturbance

By addressing the root causes of emotional disturbance, EMDR therapy can significantly reduce symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. EMDR helps individuals develop adaptive coping mechanisms, enabling them to regain control over overwhelming emotions and navigate daily life with greater ease. This helps stabilize general feelings and is reported to be helpful for relationship issues, and connection with romantic partners. 

3. Rapid and Lasting Results

Compared to traditional forms of talk therapy, EMDR therapy often yields faster and longer-lasting results. The targeted processing of distressing memories in EMDR sessions allows clients to experience substantial relief from symptoms in a shorter timeframe. This efficient approach can be particularly beneficial for those who have felt frustrated with slow progress in other therapeutic modalities.

4. Holistic Healing

EMDR therapy recognizes the interconnected nature of traumatic experiences and their impact on mental, emotional, and physical well-being. By addressing the wider effects of trauma, EMDR supports holistic healing and offers profound benefits across various aspects of an individual's life. This comprehensive approach can lead to a deep transformation and an improved sense of overall well-being.

5. Enhanced Self-Understanding and Empowerment

As individuals engage in EMDR therapy, they gain a greater understanding of themselves and their reactions to past traumatic experiences. EMDR promotes self-awareness and self-compassion, empowering individuals to challenge negative beliefs and develop new, positive thoughts. This increased self-understanding and empowerment contributes to long-lasting positive changes in their lives.

IncorporatingEye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing therapy into the Mental Health Services we provide allows us to provide our clients with a unique and powerful approach to healing trauma and improving mental health. If you or a loved one has experienced trauma or is struggling with a mental health concern, EMDR therapy may be a valuable resource on your path to healing.

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Research plays a crucial role in evaluating the efficacy of any therapeutic approach, and EMDR therapy boasts an impressive track record. More than 30 positive controlled outcome studies have been conducted on EMDR therapy, demonstrating its effectiveness.

Some notable findings include:

  • 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after only three 90-minute sessions.

  • A study funded by Kaiser Permanente found that 100% of single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims were no longer diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions.

  • 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions.

Such compelling results have led esteemed organizations like the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, and the Department of Defense to recognize EMDR therapy as an effective treatment for trauma and other distressing experiences.


Clara is a trained EMDR therapist (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and harnesses the power of this innovative, evidence-based technique to guide individuals through the healing process, particularly in trauma and negative belief systems. Clara received her Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University, marking the beginning of a fulfilling journey in the field of psychology spanning over a decade.



How EMDR Therapy Works

EMDR therapy consists of eight phases:

  1. History-taking: Assessing the client's readiness and developing a treatment plan.

  2. Skills development: Teaching clients various techniques to handle emotional distress.

  3. Target identification: Identifying the traumatic memory, negative beliefs, related emotions, and positive beliefs.

  4. Bi-lateral stimulation: Using eye movements, taps, or tones of facilitate processing.

  5. Focused attention: Clients focus on their thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

  6. Progress tracking: Ensuring clients stay on track and helping them if they become distressed.

  7. Closure: Documenting related material and self-calming activities.

  8. Progress evaluation: Examining the progress made throughout the therapy.

The goal of Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing therapy is to transform the meaning of painful events on an emotional level, empowering clients to view themselves in a more positive light. This transformation occurs through the client's accelerated intellectual and emotional processes, without excessive clinician interpretation.


EMDR Therapist Lost Angeles

At its core lies the Information Processing Theory, developed by Francine Shapiro, which offers valuable insights into why EMDR therapy is so effective in helping individuals heal from distressing memories. 


The current understanding of traumatic memories is that, much like our body's physiological systems, humans possess an information processing system. This system serves as the mental apparatus responsible for processing and storing memories in a way that can be accessed and used effectively.

Memories are not isolated entities but are instead interconnected in intricate networks that encompass thoughts, images, emotions, and sensations. These networks play a fundamental role in how we process and make sense of our experiences.


Disruption in Memory Processing

Traumatic events can disrupt this information processing system. When a traumatic or highly negative event occurs, information processing may remain incomplete. This incomplete processing can be attributed to factors like intense negative emotions or dissociation, which interfere with the assimilation of traumatic experiences into our broader memory networks.

As a result, the traumatic memory remains dysfunctionally stored, lacking the necessary associative connections. Individuals who have experienced trauma may find that they feel as though they are reliving the event when triggered by similar situations. This often leads to intrusive thoughts, emotional turmoil, and negative self-referencing beliefs, commonly seen in conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder.

EMDR's Role in Facilitating Healing

Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing therapy intervenes precisely at this point. By targeting distressing memories, whether they are categorized as major "large-T Traumas" or minor "small-T traumas," EMDR aims to forge connections between the targeted memory and more adaptive information stored within memory networks. This process of connecting and reprocessing allows individuals to learn from their traumatic experiences and store them with appropriate emotions, paving the way for emotional healing. Furthermore, several neurobiological mechanisms support the efficacy of EMDR therapy in facilitating this information-processing and healing journey.



Tapping is a form of bilateral stimulation that EMDR therapists use. It involves the rhythmic crossing of the body using stimuli that can be seen, heard, or felt. This technique, such as butterfly taps, entails gentle tapping on alternating sides of the body, inducing a calming effect. Widely recognized for its soothing properties, bilateral stimulation is often incorporated into activities aimed at relaxation and mental clarity, including walking, jogging, or tapping along to music.

How is Bilateral Stimulation Utilized in EMDR Treatment?

In EMDR therapy, bilateral stimulation plays a crucial role. Therapists employ various methods, including light, sound, or touch, to facilitate this process during sessions. Examples include the use of light bars emitting moving lights, handheld pulsars inducing mild vibrations, or manual tapping on the client's hands or knees. Additionally, auditory stimulation through music or tones alternating between the ears is employed. These methods are designed to activate both hemispheres of the brain, promoting the processing of distressing memories or emotions.


How we might use EMDR AND TAPPING in therapy.​


Let's take an example of someone who is struggling with some tension in their relationship. We can all relate to how challenging it is to navigate the emotional landscape of relationships. At times, negative thoughts and experiences can strain our bonds with partners, friends, or family, overwhelming us.

Understanding the Weight of Stressful Thoughts.

Relationships often serve as triggers for a myriad of stressful thoughts, fostering emotional turmoil. Some prevalent examples include:

  • Feeling neglected by a partner.

  • Experiencing consistent disappointment from a friend.

  • Struggling with parental criticism leading to feelings of inadequacy.

EMDR emerges as a solution to such distress. It's a therapeutic modality designed to target and reprocess traumatic memories, diminishing their influence on current emotions, thoughts, and relationships. By harnessing the brain's innate capacity to heal, EMDR accesses and reprocesses traumatic memories stored in the nervous system

How you can use EMDR and TAPPING To Transform Relationships

You can initiate the practice of EMDR today to alleviate emotional distress and enrich your relationships. Here's a simple three-step guide:

  • Mentalize Your Distress: Identify a specific situation or thought causing distress in your relationship. Close your eyes, visualize it, and allow associated feelings to surface.

  • Discover Your Safe Place: Shift focus to a mental safe haven where tranquility reigns. Whether it's a serene beach or a cozy room, engage your senses to immerse yourself fully in this peaceful setting.

  • Tap Your Knees: While maintaining the image of your safe place, gently tap your knees alternately with your hands or fingertips. This bilateral stimulation activates both brain hemispheres, facilitating traumatic memory reprocessing and reducing emotional intensity.

How Therapy with EMDR Can Assist

If distress persists or relationships remain affected by unresolved trauma, seeking professional therapy is advisable. A therapist proficient in EMDR can offer guidance, creating a secure environment for healing and personal growth. Through targeted EMDR sessions, therapists assist in addressing and reprocessing traumatic memories, thereby enhancing emotional resilience, communication skills, and overall relationship satisfaction.

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