“The magic of EMDR is that you can process a trauma without having to talk a lot.“

Zoila Knel, Psychologist

iPractice offers everyone:

Call us on 020-7717996


Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) is a commonly used treatment method in psychology. EMDR is mainly used to treat symptoms caused by trauma and PTSD. But what exactly is EMDR and how does this type of therapy work? Read this article to find out more.

An overview of this article:

  • What is EMDR?
  • When is EMDR used?
  • EMDR for PTSD
  • EMDR as part of your treatment
  • More about EMDR
“The magic of EMDR is that you can process a trauma without having to talk a lot.“

Zoila Knel, Psychologist

iPractice biedt iedereen:

Bel 020-7717996

What is EMDR?

EMDR is a type of therapy used to help people process trauma. The acronym stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. In EMDR treatment, a psychologist helps you to reduce the emotional charge associated with a distressing memory. You won’t forget what happened, but the emotions connected to it will become less strong. This could be a good solution if you have (long-term) symptoms as a result of trauma.

When is EMDR used?

Amongst other things, EMDR is used when you’ve experienced trauma: in other words, a shocking event or disturbing series of events. Trauma can cause quite a few symptoms. For example, you may suffer from:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Flashbacks
  • Avoidant behaviors

If you’re finding it difficult to properly process your trauma, it may be a good idea to seek help from a psychologist. EMDR is one option for treatment, alongside cognitive behavioral therapy.

Click here to learn more about treatments for trauma.


EMDR is also used as a treatment if you’re suffering from PTSD. People with PTSD experience long-term symptoms of trauma, or they don’t experience any symptoms until weeks, months, or even years after the event. Click here to read about PTSD or here to read about treating PTSD

EMDR as part of your treatment

How does EMDR work?

As part of EMDR treatment, your psychologist will ask you a number of questions. These will make you think back to the distressing even that caused your trauma, and your therapist will gather information about the event. Then the processing part will begin. The psychologist will ask you to think back to the event again. Meanwhile, they’ll use a distracting stimulus: The psychologist will move their fingers up and down in front of your eyes. You’ll follow these movements with your eyes while thinking about the memory. Distractions might also come in the form of noises or taps to the knees.

What are the effects of EMDR?

As your working memory struggles to process everything that’s happening, your memory of the traumatic event starts to fade. It won’t completely go away, but the emotional charge associated with the memory will diminish. 

As a result, you’ll find it much easier to think back to particular scenarios without feeling any fear or anxiety. You won’t feel overcome with emotions when someone or something reminds you of the traumatic event. You’ll experience fewer flashbacks and your avoidant behaviors will decrease as a result.

What are the side effects of EMDR?

EMDR is an intensive treatment that requires a lot of work from your brain. This may cause you to experience certain side effects after an EMDR session, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • A new range of images and emotions racing through your mind 

Usually, these symptoms won’t last longer than three days.

Want to know more about EMDR?

Do you have any questions about EMDR treatment, or would you like to talk directly to a psychologist? It is possible to recover from trauma or PTSD. In many cases, you’ll see an improvement with EMDR. Call or request a consultation. A psychologist can advise you whether EMDR is appropriate for your situation, helping you to receive suitable and effective treatment.

Get to know our other certified psychologists

Psycholoog Zoila Knel iPractice

Zoila Knel

Healthcare psychologist

Psycholoog Nine Gramberg iPractice

Nine Gramberg

Healthcare psychologist

Psycholoog Iris Mirande iPractice

Iris Mirande

Online psychologist

Psycholoog Milou Groenewoud iPractice

Milou Groenewoud

Online psychologist

Psycholoog Lotte Hendriks iPractice

Lotte Hendriks

Online psychologist

Psycholoog Gijs Coppens iPractice

Gijs Coppens

Healthcare psychologist

Psycholoog Sam Saxton iPractice

Sam Saxton


Psycholoog Jan Helder iPractice

Jan Helder

Online psychologist

What do our clients say?

“Nine Gramberg has given me insight into who I am, what I want from life and how I can continue to function in society. She was skilled in guiding me to discover the solutions myself.”

Peter-Paul, Dec 2019

"Pleasant and personal approach, professional and to the point. Good combination of face to face appointments and online follow-up / reminders to remain engaged in the process.”

Anonymous, Nov 2019

"I had 100% trust in my psychologists because of their kindness, empathy and professionalism. I felt they really cared about me. They did everything they could to help me move forward.”

Anonymous, Nov 2019

Take a look at our ratings on ZorgKaartNederland (9+)

Would you rather have the support of a professional?

Contact one of our psychologists today without obligation. You can talk about your feelings and symptoms and get information about a suitable treatment programme for you.