Hope For The Journey

Why EMDR is a
Helpful Treatment
for Sexual Abuse

Sexual Assault and EMDR: Does It Help?


In the United States, one in three women and one in six men will experience sexual abuse in their lifetime. This is according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC). When sexual abuse happens, many people don’t know how to cope with what happened. Many struggle to express their feelings in a healthy way. This often results in feelings of fear and shame.

This is why so many people never share their stories. The problem is, when you experience something as devastating as sexual abuse, it changes how you feel about yourself and others. Over time, people often develop depression and anxietyNSVRC reports that 81% of female victims and 35% of male victims will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The more you hold it in, the more shame and despair can grow inside you.

What is EMDR Therapy and How Can it Help?


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy technique. It’s often used to treat people suffering from panic attacks, anxiety, and PTSD. Or, a variety of other emotional issues. Before EMDR, treatment for these issues would be through cognitive behavioral therapy alone. While this treatment can be successful, it often takes many, many sessions for the most relief.

But, EMDR is recognized as a breakthrough modality. This is because it can bring quick and lasting relief from a variety of emotional distress. Even better, EMDR does not need you to hash through all the details of your abuse out loud. Instead, it works from the “inside–out”. Instead of using words, EMDR uses your brain’s natural processing systems to:

1) Turn down the volume of your distress

2) Helps you make new connections so you can get “unstuck”

3) Helps you believe something positive about yourself again.

When we experience trauma such as sexual abuse, our brain becomes overwhelmed. We experience the symptoms of anxiety, shame, depression, and PTSD. Through EMDR, people can process trauma until it no longer disturbs or disrupts their lives.

What is a Typical EMDR Therapy Session Like?


EMDR therapy sessions might involve several familiar pieces of traditional talk therapy. But, it also focuses on some unique techniques. EMDR is actually an 8 stage process. But when most people refer to EMDR, they think of the desensitization stage. This is where traumatic memories are “reprocessed” and healed. In these sessions, the EMDR therapist will engage the client in “bilateral stimulation”.

Don’t worry. There’s no hypnosis, shocks, or anything else going on. While the speed of recovery can sometimes feel like magic, there is the real science behind EMDR. For instance, we know from research that when you get your brain’s attention left-right, left-right, left-right, it starts a healing and learning process. In short, it gets your neurons firing up so that new connections can be made. This is how EMDR is so effective at getting you unstuck.

So, a desensitization session will have you focus on different parts of the trauma memory. All while getting your brain’s attention right-left, right-left. We do this by using eye movements or headphones that sound a tone back and forth in each ear. Or, we may use little buzzers that vibrate in your hands back and forth.

How Does EMDR Work?

It’s believed EMDR “rewires” the brain on a fundamental level. This is much like what happens during REM sleep! Instead of a traumatic memory causing instant emotional and physical distress, it becomes linked to a larger context of your own life experiences. EMDR helps put the trauma into a better perspective. Doing so allows you to access your body’s natural coping strategies.

But EMDR is more than a set of techniques. It is a way for all people to understand their human potential. EMDR therapy also allows people a glimpse of any limiting false beliefs they may be holding onto. These may involve thoughts such as “I’m not good enough.”

In this way, EMDR therapy not only helps people move through big, traumatic events in their past. EMDR also helps people cope with smaller chronic ones that color their perception of themselves their world. In the end, this can lead to real positive change in their lives.

How Can I Find An EMDR Therapist?

Have you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual abuse? If you’re interested in exploring EMDR treatment, please be in touch. We would be happy to discuss how this technique may be able to help you.

Begin EMDR Therapy in Round Rock, TX or Austin, TX

Overcoming past trauma takes dedication, time, and the right support. Our team of therapists would be happy to help you from our Round Rock, TX-based therapy practice and across the state via online therapy. To start your therapy journey, please follow these simple steps:
2. Meet with a caring therapist
3. Start getting “unstuck” from past trauma!

Other Services Offered with Hope For the Journey

EMDR isn’t the only service offered at our Round Rock and Austin therapy offices. Our team also offers therapy for depressiondomestic violencesexual assaultanger management, and PTSD. We are happy to support a wide range of clients. This includes support for childrenteens and young adultsmencouples, and the LGBTQ community. Learn more by contacting us visiting our blog today!





Scroll to Top