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What is EMDR Therapy, and can it Help me Get Over my Divorce?

What is EMDR Therapy, and can it Help me Get Over my Divorce?

When you think of psychological trauma, thoughts of war veterans or crime victims experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may come to mind. However, an individual can also experience extreme trauma when they are subjected to intense and upsetting behavior during divorce.  As in the case of any psychologically traumatized individual, a person trying to cope with divorce trauma may have symptoms such as uncontrolled anxiety, depression, PTSD, and an inability to effectively function in everyday life. EMDR is a therapeutic approach that has recently gained popularity and may be helpful for those trying to move past these barriers. 

What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy that was initially designed to relieve symptoms of distress associated with traumatic memories. Unlike traditional therapy which involves talking through experiences and emotions, EMDR involves a physiological process.  According to WebMD, a typical EMDR session will last approximately 90 minutes and consists of a therapist moving his or her fingers in front of the patient's face while asking them to follow their hand motions with their eyes. While these movements are taking place, the patient is asked to recall a traumatic event and the feelings and sensations associated with the experience. The practitioner will then guide the patient to more positive thoughts through the process. 

Traumatic Divorce and EMDR

An individual's response to their divorce can vary, but certain events can be more traumatic than others.  For instance, the shock of learning of a spouse’s infidelity or being subjected to emotional or physical abuse, can create the kinds of responses that EMDR was designed to address. When someone is stuck in a place where they can’t get past a divorce memory or their response to it, EMDR may be helpful. This form of therapy may not be as effective when assisting an individual in identifying and resolving their over-arching feelings about the relationship and its end.

EMDR is generally considered to be a safe form of psychotherapy, but there are differences of opinion of its overall effectiveness as a sole treatment modality.  For someone looking to address their emotions and traumatic experiences following divorce, EMDR may be a successful way to get past specific intense experiences which occurred during the marriage and divorce. However, it may also be useful to seek out other therapeutic resources such as a counselor or support group to address a broader range of emotional issues related to the overall experience.


At First Look Family Law, Atty Karyn Youso understands the challenges which come with healing from divorce and can help you learn more about available therapeutic resources.  Call us today to set up a consultation so we can take a “first look” at your situation.

Want a free 30-minute consultation? Contact Attorney Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law today.