Safe + Sound Blog

EMDR: S+SS’s Newest Trauma-Informed Option

by Lauren Lia, Director of Clinical Services


Everyone has had a common cold, but everyone’s experience is different. Symptoms can be mild or severe. It can last for a few days or linger for weeks. Treatments range from “Grandma’s Penicillin” to prescribed medicines. Similarly, each survivor’s healing from the trauma of domestic abuse is unique. Safe+Sound Somerset’s trauma-informed response is to offer our clients a range of evidence-based therapies that meet the client where they are in their recovery.

Recently, S+SS has partnered with the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence to add Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy to our individual counseling options, as a compliment to the Cognitive Behavioral and Prolonged Exposure therapies already offered for treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). EMDR uses Bilateral Stimulation (BLS), such as eye movements, to activate one’s problem solving process. With BLS, one’s brain is able to work through a specific difficult event more effectively than if it “just comes up,” such as in REM sleep.

EMDR allows the brain to heal and reintegrate memories in a healthy way. This healing shows in more helpful beliefs about oneself and the world, reduction of problematic symptoms, and positive goal oriented behaviors. EMDR is proven to address a wide range of challenges including experiences of distressing events such as all forms of domestic abuse, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and PTSD.

This new modality provides so much to our clinical services: First, it gives a variety of skills to utilize to help clients heal, because there is no ‘one size fits all’ counseling. It also instills the crucial value of empowerment, giving clients more choice over their course of clinical treatment. EMDR teaches various skills to help clients regulate their emotions, including the use of Bilateral Stimulation to calm oneself. Finally, it provides a holistic mind body approach believing that trauma is held not just in memories but our bodies as well.

Our clinicians have now completed all requirements to become EMDR trained therapists, including an intensive training course approved by EMDR International Association and consultation from approved experts to guide cases. Clinical staff look forward to the next step of researching with The College of New Jersey to bring more evidence to this modality in the DV field.

To learn more about our services or begin the process for counseling, please call or text our 24 hour Hotline at 866-685-1122.