Andrea B. Goldberg, LCSW

EMDR Psychotherapist  & Consultant in NJ

About EMDR

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is not just a technique. It is an eight phase integrative psychotherapy approach that starts with the first history-taking session, continues with the development of positive resources to help cope with overwhelming emotions and circumstances, then moves on to the identification of traumatic experiences to target and the reprocessing of these distressing experiences that block us from optimal functioning.

The EMDR treatment method may be integrated into traditional talk therapy, used as an adjunctive therapy with a separate therapist, or as a treatment by itself. A typical EMDR session lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. The type of problem, life circumstances, coping abilities, the extent of previous trauma and pragmatic factors will all be considered to determine recommended session length.

While much has been written about the accelerated nature of EMDR therapy, the length of treatment varies. Single incident traumatic experiences can sometimes be reprocessed in a few sessions, unless earlier trauma is activated. Chronic trauma is much more complex and can take longer, especially if it occurred during childhood and involved betrayal of trust. Then the preparation phase, involving the development of a trusting therapeutic relationship and other coping resources, may be a more extended process.

The core of EMDR treatment involves activating emotional, cognitive and sensory components of the traumatic event or disturbing memory and pairing them with dual attention stimuli. Distressing experiences can be reprocessed using eye movements, or alternating bilateral sounds, vibrations or tapping, that help to activate the associations linking interconnected memories. Once activated, new information about improved capabilities and resources is linked with the disturbing life experience and its emotional, somatic and cognitive impact, to help overcome the unresolved issues that interfere with day-to-day living. This can take the emotional charge out of the targeted memories and result in eliminating presenting symptoms, neutralizing triggers, improving self-esteem and coping capacities and working through related issues that could arise in the future.

If you are considering EMDR therapy and have questions or concerns, feel free to give me a call at 973-748-0045 or e-mail me at


EMDR International Association website
EMDR: The Breakthrough "Eye Movement" Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety, Stress and Trauma by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. & Margot Silk Forrest
The Instinct to Heal: Curing Depression, Anxiety and Stress Without Drugs and Without Talk Therapy
by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber M.D. Ph.D.

Eight phases of EMDR

Preliminary EMDR phases

  1. History and Treatment Planning
  2. Preparation
  3. Assessment

EMDR Reprocessing phases

  1. Desensitization
  2. Installation
  3. Body Scan
  4. Closure
  5. Re-evaluation

Components of EMDR Reprocessing Phases 4-6