How Does EMDR Therapy Benefit The Brain?

EMDR therapy helps people process past traumatic events, reducing anxiety and depression. Even though EMDR therapy has been shown to be highly effective in helping people overcome various psychological issues, this form of therapy can also help benefit the brain. Research shows that EMDR therapy can help improve cognitive function, memory, and brain connectivity. If you’re looking for a way to improve your mental health, EMDR therapy may be right for you.

What Is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR is a form of exposure therapy, which means that it helps people to confront and process their traumatic memories. The therapy is based on the idea that memories are stored in the brain similar to how files are stored on a computer. When you experience a traumatic event, the memory of the event can become ‘stuck’ in the brain, causing you to relive the trauma repeatedly. During EMDR sessions, therapists guide patients through eye movements, sounds, or other stimuli. This helps to bring the patient’s focus to the present moment and allows them to process their memories in a more healthy way.

What Is An EMDR Therapy Session Like?

During an EMDR therapy session, the therapist will guide you through bilateral stimulation of eye movements while you recall a traumatic event. Bilateral stimulation is a type of therapy that uses inputs from both sides of the body to help the brain process information more effectively. This can be done using various methods, including visual, auditory, and tactile stimulations. Bilateral stimulation is thought to work by helping to improve communication between the right and left sides of the brain. Bilateral stimulation helps the brain process information more effectively by creating new connections between neurons and by increasing blood flow to brain areas responsible for attention and memory.

The therapist will also help you process and release any negative emotions associated with the event. A typical EMDR session lasts 60-90 minutes. During that time, the therapist will guide you through a series of eye movements. The therapist may also use other forms of bilateral stimulation, such as taps or sounds, to help you process your emotions. The bilateral stimulation helps to activate the brain’s natural healing process, allowing the client to work through and resolve the issues causing distress.

How Does EMDR Therapy Help Heal The Brain?

EMDR therapy helps to improve the brain’s ability to process information by using eye movements and other forms of stimulation. EMDR therapy has also been shown to improve functioning in other areas of the brain, such as information processing, executive functioning, and social cognition.

1. Better information processing

Scientists believe that the brain processes information using a combination of electrical and chemical signals. When we experience something, electrical signals travel from our sensory organs to the brain. These signals are then converted into chemical signals, which help to store the information in our memory.

The basic premise of EMDR therapy is that the brain sometimes cannot process information properly after a traumatic event. This can lead to negative beliefs. These negative beliefs can then fuel symptoms such as anxiety and depression. EMDR therapy helps the brain process information more effectively by combining eye movements and bilateral stimulation (such as tapping or auditory stimulation). This allows the brain to access and process memories and experiences that may cause distress. This back-and-forth movement helps the brain process the information better so that it is no longer as distressing.

2. Improved executive functioning

Executive functioning is a term used to describe the cognitive processes that allow you to plan, organize, and complete tasks. These processes include goal setting, attentional control, working memory, and flexibility. These skills are controlled by the front part of the brain, known as the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex develops throughout childhood and into adolescence. This means that executive functioning skills also develop and mature over time. However, some adults may never fully develop these skills because of injury or disease damage to the prefrontal cortex. In addition, alcohol and drug abuse can also negatively impact executive functioning skills.

A recent study has found that EMDR therapy can also improve executive functioning in the brain. Executive functioning refers to the ability to plan and execute complex tasks. The study found that participants who received EMDR therapy showed improved performance on tests of executive functioning compared to those who did not receive EMDR therapy. The improved performance on tests of executive functioning was also associated with reduced symptoms of PTSD.

3. Healthier social cognition

Social cognition refers to processing information about other people and social situations. It encompasses many abilities, from understanding basic body language cues to recognizing and remembering faces. Social cognition is essential to everyday life, and research suggests that it is a key component of successful relationships. People with good social cognition skills can better read other people’s emotions, respond effectively in social situations, and build strong relationships.

One of the key aims of EMDR therapy is to help individuals improve social cognition. Research has shown that EMDR therapy can help improve social cognition in people with various mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. Improving social cognition can be particularly helpful for people who have difficulty interacting with others or who tend to avoid social situations.

Say Yes To Better Mental & Brain Health

If you’re looking for a way to improve your mental health, EMDR therapy may be right for you. This form of therapy has been shown to help people process past traumatic events, reducing anxiety and depression. Besides these benefits, research also suggests that EMDR therapy can help improve cognitive function, memory, and brain connectivity. If you’re ready to regain control of your life, contact us today. We would be happy to discuss EMDR therapy with you further.

Innovative, Evidence-Based Therapies

Because mental health and addiction concerns are so often interconnected, we utilize research-based approaches with evidence-based outcomes that promote overall healing and recovery.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

This low-impact magnetic stimulation activates neurons inside the brain, relieving symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.

qEEG/Brain Mapping

Using brain scanning and readings, we create a map of our patients’ brains, helping us develop more targeted and effective treatments.


This process assists patients in visualizing their own brain functionality through continuous EEG readings.

Spravato Therapy

We use carefully monitored doses of Spravato to help patients struggling with complex mental health disorders, including severe depression.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Patients use this practice to help reframe intrusive or negative thought patterns and develop coping techniques for long-term recovery.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

This practice helps patients learn to regulate emotions, communicate more effectively, and process their own thoughts and feelings..

Eye Movement Desensitization (EMDR)

Licensed and trained therapists guide patients through this technique for managing stress and anxiety on an ongoing basis.

Individual Therapy

Patients experience one-on-one therapy sessions with a licensed therapist to provide a safe and private place to recover and heal.

Group/Family Therapy

Patients can practice the skills and techniques they have learned in treatment with others in a safe, therapist-guided space.

Contact StoneRidge Centers

5940 E. Copper Hill Dr. Ste B & E, Prescott Valley, AZ. 86314

We exercise progressive, leading brain science in our treatment approach for patients in our community and across the country who are struggling with mental health and addiction challenges.