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EMDR for Depression


If you're struggling with feelings of sadness and hopelessness because of depression, you're not alone. Around 7.1% of American adults experience depression each year, and it's the most common cause of disability worldwide. 

However, the good news is that depression is highly treatable with the proper support. In fact, between 80% and 90% of people who receive treatment for depression report positive results and experience a significant improvement in their symptoms. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is one of the most effective tools we use to support clients with depression at the EMDR and Counseling Center. 

What Is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR is a type of therapy used to treat various mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and trauma-related disorders. The concept of EMDR began in 1987 when the renowned psychologist Francine Shapiro noticed that moving her eyes from side to side reduced the emotional impact of reliving painful events. The theory behind EMDR is that replicating the rapid eye movements that occur during REM sleep, a stage of sleep recognized as influential in memory processing, allows us to process difficult memories and experiences. 

During an EMDR session, the person receiving treatment recalls a traumatic experience or focuses on a negative thought pattern while moving their eyes rapidly from side to side. These movements gradually reduce the distress these thoughts and memories cause. Over time, this process helps alleviate psychological symptoms and unpleasant body sensations to improve your mood. 

How Is EMDR Therapy Used to Help Treat Depression?

The process of using EMDR to treat depression often begins with identifying the underlying thought processes and negative beliefs that cause or exacerbate your symptoms. Many people with depression report persistent thoughts of being unlovable, useless, or hopeless. Over time, these thoughts can worsen your condition and prevent you from enjoying a fulfilling lifestyle and relationships. 


Sometimes, distressing events and memories are the root cause of depressive symptoms. Identifying and addressing these experiences with EMDR can help reduce their emotional impact. 

Once you've identified areas to work on, we will guide you in focusing on your negative thoughts and experiences while practicing eye movement desensitization. The eye movements involved in EMDR can help you process your experiences until they stop causing debilitating distress. 

At this point, the second stage begins. During the second stage of EMDR therapy, your therapist will help you adopt new, positive ways of thinking while continuing the rapid eye movements. Over time, this process can help you develop constructive beliefs that allow you to move forward and achieve a better quality of life. 

Is EMDR an Effective Treatment for Depression?

There is encouraging evidence supporting the use of EMDR therapy to treat various types of depression. How long the treatment takes to work depends on several factors, including the severity of your condition. However, most of our clients begin experiencing symptom relief within three to six sessions, with some reporting positive results even sooner. 

EMDR differs from traditional therapeutic models for depression because it seeks to desensitize you to the root cause of your difficulties. Standard therapy can teach you healthy coping strategies for managing challenging thoughts and feelings, but it cannot make these triggers go away. EMDR approaches these issues from the opposite direction by reducing the emotional power of the triggers themselves. 

EMDR is an effective treatment method for various types of depression. If you have major depressive disorder, our therapists can use EMDR to help you positively change your response to life events. Meanwhile, we support patients with reactive depression by helping them heal from the trauma that initially triggered their condition. 

Alternatively, our therapists also use EMDR to treat people with comorbid depression alongside post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The use of EMDR to treat PTSD is well-established, with a wealth of clinical evidence. Treating the root causes of PTSD with EMDR often resolves any associated depressive symptoms. 

Why Choose EMDR and Counseling Center for EMDR Therapy?

Your journey to depression relief with EMDR begins with choosing a compassionate, highly-trained therapist to guide you through your treatment. The knowledgeable team at the EMDR and Counseling Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, creates the safe, supportive space you need to identify and work through the negative thoughts and experiences at the root of your depression.

Our therapists come from various backgrounds, bringing their expertise in self-esteem, trauma issues, and depressive disorders to the table. We have a wealth of experience helping clients achieve rapid, lasting relief from their depression symptoms.  

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