Traumatic memories are often not stored correctly. Because of this, they can cause flashbacks, nightmares, and avoidance behavior. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) helps you healthily reprocess your trauma.

How EMDR Works

EMDR uses the mechanics of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep to help people relive and correctly process traumatic memories. Bilateral stimulation is used to relax the patient while also opening necessary pathways to memory storage.

To correctly do this, therapists follow a strict eight phase process that protects clients from retraumatization and creates a safe place. The eight phases of EMDR are:

  • Planning and history taking
  • Preparation
  • Assessment 
  • Desensitization
  • Installation
  • Body scan
  • Closure
  • Re-evaluation

These phases create a safe framework for the patient to safely interact with traumatic memories, but there’s a chance you’ll double back to earlier steps throughout treatment.

What Does EMDR Look Like?

Unless you experience EMDR for yourself it’s hard to understand how effective it can be. It uses the natural process your brain uses to store long-term memories and guides you through troubling memories effectively and thoughtfully. It also installs positive beliefs in place of the targeted trauma. Helping you maintain a healthy view of your past.

Those who finish their treatment experience great relief knowing their troubling memories have been processed properly. 

Bilateral Stimulation

Bilateral stimulation can be administered in several ways including sound, sight, touch, and eye movement. This form of stimulation decreases levels of discomfort.

“Go With That” 

During bilateral stimulation, patients think about their targeted memory and continue the progression of their thoughts and emotions. The therapist will guide patients deeper by keeping them on track and grounded.

Positive Belief

When the traumatic memory has been desensitized you’ll install a positive belief in its place. This belief is what you want to believe about yourself and the memory.


During each session, you’ll practice grounding techniques to ease the emotional and often physical reaction you’ll have to treatment. This helps you pack up your thoughts and emotions healthily.

What We Treat

If you are struggling with your mental health, substance abuse, or both, we are here to help you regain control over your life. Our inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs are designed to treat a wide variety of mental, behavioral, and co-occurring disorders in a comfortable setting.

Mental Health

We diagnose and treat a wide variety of mental health disorders, including trauma effects, dual diagnosis, depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and codependency.


Substance use disorders we treat include addiction to alcohol, opiates, fentanyl and prescription opioids, methamphetamine and other stimulants, benzodiazepines, cannabis, and other psychoactive substances.

Other Behavioral Health Concerns

A mental health crisis can be layered and confusing. If you don’t see your disorder listed—or don’t know exactly why you are struggling—reach out to us to see how we can help. We treat each client at Sequoia on a personal level, and we’re ready to help you overcome whatever you may be facing.

Ready to Start Your Healing Journey?

Our experienced, compassionate team is here for you. Reach out to us today by calling us or scheduling a conversation at a time that works for you. All information will be kept private and confidential.

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