Archive for the ‘EMDR Success Stories’ Category

EMDR Movie, a Documentary by Michael Burns, reviewed by Vista Counselor Belle Hazelhurst

“I am a psychotherapist practicing since 1990 and utilizing EMDR since my first training in 1995.
This documentary is an excellent overview of the history, research, and profound healing potential of this very gracious healing modality. Michael Burns has done a very thorough and compelling review, interviewing numerous researchers and professionals in the field, along with interviewing clients.
He weaves into the narrative beautiful stories of deep healing with individuals and children who have lived through overwhelming trauma and had the good fortune of finding their way to competent EMDR therapists who assisted them to find their way back to health, balance, and wholeness again.
The film lasts just over an hour and was quite captivating and interesting the entire time. I will definitely be utilizing this film to further educate and introduce clients to the power of EMDR. It is my hope that this film will reach a larger audience so that more people will become aware of this amazingly respectful and deep potential for (often quickly) moving people from pain and suffering into healing and freedom. Thank you, Michael Burns, for this beautiful piece of work and your part in spreading this information out to the world in a larger way.”
About Belle:  She is a talented therapist who first introduced me to EMDR in 1997 when I needed to overcome the fear of starting a private practice.  She did such a great job that my fear was overcome in 2 sessions.  I immediately wanted to become an EMDR therapist.  Her office in Vista, CA is good for people in North County Coastal communities. — Dana Terrell, LCSW, EAC
To link to a profile for Belle Hazlehurst, RN, MFT, please click on her name.

EMDR inspired me to create a film

When I had EMDR in 2007, I thought it was some kind of joke. I had read about the treatment in David Servan-Schreiber’s Healing without Freud or Prozac. The other things he discusses in that book seemed to make sense, but this EMDR stuff? No way. It just seemed impossible.

After one session I noticed some big changes in my feelings and even in my health. Yet even then I just chalked up the changes to coincidence. After all, it couldn’t have had anything to do with that eye-moving thing I did.

Out of curiosity, I did a little bit of research and was surprised to see that this weird thing called EMDR actually had some serious grounding in research. The more I read, the more I realized that my dismissal was based in total ignorance. I ate up anything and everything related to EMDR and even began to record seminars on the therapy for a video client. As time went on, and as I began to see plain as day in front of me the astounding results of this remarkable treatment, I realized that I wanted to do something to make sure as many people knew about it as possible.

In 2008 I began to film and construct the most thorough documentary into EMDR to date, finishing the project in November of 2011. The project is called simply EMDR and can be found online at It’s been an incredible three-plus years, filled with eye-opening and inspiring interviews around every turn. Overall, the best way of putting it is that my exploration of EMDR has been a total humbling. I realized that we know so little about the mind and brain that to dismiss research and results (no matter how surprising) without a good reason is foolish to say the least. Now, if we can just get policy-makers and those suffering with PTSD to realize same thing, we will be, as a global community, on our way to recovery with EMDR.

EMDR and My Financial Avoidance

Many years ago I had a bankruptcy, foreclosure and loss of two parents within a six month period. It spiraled me into a situation that required some medication for a couple of years.

After that, I was overwhelmed any time I saw bills in the mail. Anything from the IRS was so terrifying that I often didn’t check my mailbox for a month or two, and then wouldn’t open my mail. Years went by without filing tax returns because of my avoidance issues.

Finally a friend of mine suggested I see a therapist skilled in EMDR. With EMDR, I started noticing very quick results. In our history-taking work I discovered that my challenges with financial matters were accumulating much before the actual bankruptcy. These issues took more sessions, however it all worked wonderfully.

Now I no longer have fear to open mail, do financial planning, and even talk to the IRS. I have filed over a decade of past tax returns, and am finally getting back into integrity with all my financial affairs.

My life is much more at ease and peaceful. My therapist also recommend that I go to Debtors Anonymous. Though I truly resisted it, I found I was not alone in my resistance to face financial problems. Even though I have healed most of my avoidance issues, I continue to go to DA because it’s a good constant reminder, and it feels good to be supportive of others.

EMDR is a powerfully effective method and I tell my friends about it. From what I understand, it is a way to engage both the right and left side of the brain during the therapy process. This boosts the effectiveness many times over since its not just an intellectual exercise. I recommend you try just two or three sessions and I’ll bet you’ll be amazed at how fast it works. I think in two sessions it cleared my long-unresolved sadness over the death of one of my parents.


“What I have learned from my EMDR sessions has changed my entire outlook and perspective on life. I am one that has a problem with worrying about everything. Now with the help of EMDR I feel more confident in myself and am finally in control of my life. It has been an extremely valuable and helpful experience.

In the beginning I was very skeptical about EMDR and didn’t know what to expect. Thanks to my curiosity, I was willing to participate and have had great success ever since. I am so glad that I was convinced to get the EMDR work done and I am rewarded everyday.

I would like to recommend EMDR to others who have endured any type of stress in their lives.”- Bonnie

EMDR is Driving my Recovery from PTSD and Addiction

One week ago I sat in a rental home in Bodega Bay, vacationing with my sister. It was cold. I lit a fire in the fireplace. No big deal, right? Something anyone would do? Not me. Not since January 17, 2009. January 17, 2009 a cooking fire left me with burns to over 20% of my body: right hand, arm, and torso primarily. I lived alone and was not found for 2 days. I was not to survive. Hospitalized for five weeks, half of which I spent in a coma, I was released with no use of my hand or arm and scars that ran so deep, even the best surgeon and physical therapist were unable to help.

At the insistence of family and friends, I reluctantly contacted multiple therapists. I signed on with my EMDR therapist not knowing what to expect, and quite honestly without much hope. The universe works in mysterious ways. My therapist introduced me to a process called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). She explained that EMDR has been used in PTSD with wonderful results. I didn’t care. I only wanted some small moment in time where I was free from the night and day dreams of the fire. I wanted to cook a meal without feeling sick. I wanted to forget.

My therapist wasted no time and within weeks of signing on, I was LOVING the process. As we worked through the memories of the fire and its aftermath, I found myself counting on sessions with my therapist to quiet my mind. In the past 40+ years, I have been unable to find any relief from an overactive, chattering mind. Nothing, that is, but alcohol. I am a recovering alcoholic and have been an active member of AA. Still, the mind chatters. My therapist and I discussed the application of EMDR in recovery from addiction. Today, I wonder how, after all the recovery, the rehabs, and the pain, why have I not heard of this? I realize that there are as many approaches to recovery as there are addicts, and I would never presume to know what will work for another, but for me, EMDR is driving my recovery.

EMDR is a process that one must experience to understand. I trust in it, and yet am not entirely convinced I understand it. Not that I care. Today I have no fear of fire. I have no nightmares. I have few thoughts of drinking. I look forward to my EMDR sessions. I have found the application of EMDR useful in so many ways: trauma from the fire, addiction, quieting the mind, and now, sorting through the memories and traumas of my past.”

I thought “EMDR is NOT for me!” — until I tried it

Almost a year ago I realized I had been in regular talk therapy for over 6 years. Though I had made some progress, I always got “stuck,” seemingly not making progress for months on end, still feeling anxieties and depression symptoms.

Much of my trouble in therapy was my hesitance to talk about horrible experiences of my childhood that have haunted me in my adult life, intimate relationships, and my job. The same feelings and difficulties would resurface.

Then, a naturopathic physician recommended EMDR therapy for me. I had heard of this approach before, but never did I think myself a candidate. “That’s for trauma victims,” I used to say to myself.

Nevertheless, I made an appointment. In one session alone, I was blown away by the immediate and powerful impact it had in alleviating my anxieties in discussing my troubling childhood. Session after session I experienced relief and could enjoy my life, family, and friends more and more.

The wonderful effects are long-lasting, too. I feel my dark past has dissolved much. I was mistaken to write off EMDR as “not for me.” Don’t let your fears and assumptions stop you from trying EMDR, as it stopped me for too long.

LF, 35 year old male, now leaving one professional career and entering medical school

EMDR: Finally Grieving the Loss of my Father

I am so glad to find a place where I can share my EMDR story. My father died suddenly (drowned) when I was twelve.  Due to my mother’s mental illness, I was never allowed to mourn his death, or to speak of him ever again. Forty years after his death, I began experiencing a debilitating fear of loss that manifested in incredible anxiety and panic when my only daughter began to drive (the last time I saw my father, he was driving away from me).

My therapist suggested EMDR, and I have now completed five rounds of treatment, with incredible results. Through EMDR I have been able to begin to process my father’s death.  I am working on breaking the link that I had formed, as a result of this trauma, between emotional attachment and loss. I feel taller and lighter every day — EMDR really has worked for me.

To find a Certified EMDR Therapist, please go to or

Pam Preston, Baltimore, MD

EMDR helped my young daughter

After experiencing a traumatic event in an eight year old’s life, my daughter started to show signs of post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. She had until that day been so happy-go-lucky, courageous, never nervous, and very well adjusted. She was ill and had an accident in public, and was very scared and ashamed. For the next 2 weeks she began having panic in the mornings around going to the bathroom. She couldn’t get out the door and go to school, as she was constantly worried about being able to make it to the bathroom on time.

Though we talked to her about it and let her express her fears, feelings and thoughts, she could not shake it. We were referred to a therapist experienced in EMDR and had a session just three weeks after the event. Even though we knew she would be able to move through this, we wanted help to give our daughter all the tools we could think of to not have to live with this stress in her young life. After just one session there was a tremendous shift of energy and I felt like we are moving through this extremely quickly. I would suggest to anyone that has had a traumatic event in his or her life to seek such treatment.

EMDR helped with physical pain and grief in San Diego

I am a therapist, and of course, I tried many therapies after I was in graduate school, which was 30 years ago. My father died at the time and it propelled me into various forms of personal growth. When I found EMDR, in 1995, I was intrigued with the possibilities, and thinking that I was “doing really well and healed from old grief” but hey, we can all use some “growth”, so I tried it.

At the time, I had hip pain that kept me from my regular jogging routine of 20-30 miles per week, and I felt I would be on Motrin forever. The pain was constant in my hip, with the experience of searing heat. I had been to doctors, a surgeon, a chiropractor, functional exercise specialists, nutrition specialists, and an acupuncturist. One day my therapist suggested we try using the pain as a target for EMDR. It is hard to believe, but ever since that session, the pain is gone 95% of the time, and it’s only a 2-4 out of 10, instead of 8-10 out of 10. I had had this pain for over 2 years. We had focused on the pain, and memories came up about my sister, and old injuries I had in the past. But focusing on the body sensation was profoundly powerful in diminishing it.

I am very grateful to EMDR for this change, but also others that came while working on family of origin issues. One early memory in particular was “rewired” and the result, for me, was a whole new way of being in my relationships. I can thank the gains I made in EMDR treatment for the fact that I have a most wonderful partnering with my husband.

To find Therapists in San Diego (and other cities and states) experienced in treating Pain issues with EMDR, link to:, San Diego Directory

Job Interviewing: EMDR Helped Enormously

EMDR gave me the help I needed to finally land a good job, after being laid off and unable to get a steady job for two years! I had been laid off from a software company when they had financial problems during one of the “dot-com busts”. I had done everything I could think of to get a job: took classes to update my skills, worked hard on my resume and cover letters, etc. And I had a bachelor’s degree in my field, and quite a lot of good experience.

I had gotten invited to some job interviews, but had not been able to get hired. My confidence was really suffering, and I tried hard to keep a positive attitude, but I could only “fake” it.

Finally a therapist told me that EMDR could really help me to get a job, by re-building my confidence, etc. She referred me to an EMDR therapist in San Diego. I had only two EMDR sessions; my therapist was able to help me powerfully connect to my memories of work and interview successes that I’d had in the past. Also she taught me techniques for reinforcing those confident, successful memories and feelings, so I could give myself that boost before interviews and before writing cover letters. The result? I had been unemployed for two years but within two weeks of the EMDR session, I landed interviews for two great jobs. Within another week and a half, I got hired for one of the great jobs, at a good pay rate!