Using EMDR for Eating Disorder Recovery

Published On: September 4, 2018Categories: Therapy

What Is EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, which is a specific type of therapy used in conjunction with other therapies to improve outcomes for eating disorder recovery. The EMDR Institute explains the process as a type of psychotherapy that was originally intended to help reduce the distress associated with traumatic memories. Using EMDR for Eating Disorder Recovery helps the recovering person to process traumatic memories and find resolutions that can help kick-start the healing process.

How Does EMDR Help Eating Disorder Recovery?

The objective of EMDR therapy is to discover a memory or past traumatic event that could be a contributing factor or underlying eating disorder. Throughout an EMDR therapy session, people in recovery learn to view painful events or emotions in a more subjective way, allowing them to transform beliefs about those events on an emotional level.

What Happens in EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is not like other forms of counseling. In individual counseling sessions or group therapy sessions, the process is focused on talking through problems.

By comparison, EMDR therapy is largely non-verbal. Each person recovering from an eating disorder gains their own individual insights throughout the session based on their own emotional processes. The person in recovery doesn’t need to speak in any detail or complete homework assignments after the session has ended.

During a therapy session, a trained EMDR professional asks the recovering person to focus on a specific memory or event within their mind. At the same time, the person is asked to track the movement of the therapist’s hand with his or her eyes.

The therapist will move one hand back and forth in front of the person’s line of vision. This movement allows the person in recovery the opportunity to process the memory in a more objective way, which allows them to transform that traumatic memory into resolution.

After completing therapy sessions, it’s common for many people to feel more empowered by the same experiences that generated psychological trauma prior to treatment.

Why Use EMDR to Treat Eating Disorders?

At the Tapestry Eating Disorder Treatment Centers of WNC, our team of treatment specialists uses a specific combination of different therapies and counseling styles to suit each person’s unique needs. Just as the reasons and triggers behind each person’s eating disorder are individual to them, the treatments and therapies needed also need to be customized accordingly. EMDR therapy is commonly used in conjunction with other types of counseling and therapy sessions to improve outcomes for people in recovery.


  1. What is EMDR

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