Using EMDR for Complex Trauma

Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

EMDR for complex trauma provides positive, lifelong results that help those who participate in the therapy truly heal themselves. When someone endures complex trauma, they often suffer for months or years before finding a comprehensive program that treats this harrowing condition. Renewal Oasis specializes in providing up-to-the-minute treatment modalities as part of our multi-disciplinary approach to healing trauma. We also offer prescription medications to help ease the symptoms of trauma.

People needing revolutionary and caring support for overcoming traumatic events can find what they need in our program. We provide both residential and outpatient options to fit the needs and schedules of a diverse population of people. Our skilled mental health therapists and other clinicians use their experience and compassion to teach people they can overcome the damage done by a series of traumatic events.

Understanding Complex Trauma & EMDR Therapy 

To determine if using EMDR for complex trauma is right for you, it’s important to understand the definition of both the illness and the therapy. When someone experiences a singular traumatic act, such as a physical or sexual assault, or living through a natural disaster, they may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Someone who endures multiple traumatic events may develop complex trauma. Examples include ongoing childhood abuse, domestic violence, or military-related events. 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is a highly effective option for treating complex trauma and other mental health disorders. A licensed therapist trained to conduct EMDR will direct a person to use specific eye movements or other motions while they discuss the trauma they endured. The experience is non-invasive and does not involve using pharmaceuticals. It takes place in the therapist’s office over several sessions. 

EMDR requires going through eight different phases in the following order:

  1. History Taking and Treatment Planning
  2. Preparation
  3. Assessment
  4. Desensitization
  5. Installation
  6. Body Scan
  7. Closure
  8. Reevaluation


Each step will be explained before beginning it so the individual knows what to expect.

How Does EMDR Treat Complex Trauma?

Someone suffering from complex trauma often finds that they repeatedly relive the devastating series of events that happened to them. Common symptoms include flashbacks, being easily startled, nightmares, anxiety, isolation from the world, acting aggressively, and poor sleep patterns. At any time, the traumatic memories can overtake the person and feel as if they are being violated all over again. 

EMDR helps the individual by changing how they process and react to the memories associated with complex trauma. The actions taken during sessions, including the eye and hand movements, are part of what’s called bilateral sensory input. Speaking about the trauma while engaged in these actions activates both sides of the brain with stimuli, which helps the whole brain process past traumatic events. This act, done over time, aids the person in learning how not to automatically shut down or panic in reaction to these memories. As a result, they learn to stay grounded in the present and no longer automatically feel unsafe. 

How Long Does EMDR Take for Treating Complex Trauma?

It usually takes eight separate therapy sessions of EMDR for treating complex trauma and each one lasts between 60 – 90 minutes. The number of sessions needed depends on the severity of the person’s trauma and how they respond to the treatment. Occasionally, it requires more than 8 sessions to allow the person to achieve their goals.

Does EMDR Work for Everyone Who Has Experienced Trauma?

EMDR provides very promising ways to help people heal from complex trauma. While not every person who uses this type of therapy will get the full results they desire, it proves helpful for the majority who use it. In a study of patients with single-event PTSD who used EMDR therapy, 77% – 90% reported being in remission after concluding three to eight 90 minute sessions. Another study indicated that 77% of people with complex trauma were no longer diagnosed with PTSD after participating in six EMDR sessions. As well, 77% of combat veterans reported no longer having PTSD after 12 EMDR sessions.  

Explore EMDR for Treating Complex Trauma at Renewal Oasis Today

Have you experienced complex trauma and find yourself unable to acclimate back to your regular life and need help? Renewal Oasis believes in the power of using EMDR for complex trauma and makes it an option for people attending both our residential and outpatient programs. This innovative, non-invasive series of sessions helps you reprocess what happened to you and minimize the triggers and negative emotions that have overtaken your life.

For more information about how EMDR can help you clear the hurdles to healing from complex trauma, contact us today. Our admissions staff is happy to answer any questions you have.