EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and ART (Accelerated Resolution Treatment) are structured, trauma focused therapies that utilize eye movements to adjust how the brain stores and recalls traumatic memories and distressing emotions. Both EMDR and ART impact the vividness and emotion connected to difficult or traumatic memories and, in doing so, reduce problematic symptoms such as hypervigilance, troubles sleeping, challenges concentrating, flashbacks, nightmares, overwhelming emotions, depression, and anxiety.

You may experience intense distress and benefit from EMDR or ART if you have experienced any of the following:


  • Being the victim of a crime
  • Witnessing a crime
  • Surviving a natural disaster, and accident, or a fire
  • Living through a medical trauma
  • Experiencing violence or abuse of any kind
  • Experiencing an unexpected loss
  • Watching someone be hurt or die
  • Witnessing or participating in a war
  • Responding to a serious accident or medical emergency
  • Rescuing someone from a dangerous situation
  • Feeling out of control in a scary or dangerous situation
  • Making life and death decisions for self or others
  • Being attacked by an animal
  • Receiving devastating news

Both EMDR and ART evidence-based treatments that have been demonstrated effective for:

  • PTSD
  • Trauma
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Addiction
  • Grief

The Differences between EMDR and ART

Despite their similarities, EMDR and ART also have some distinct differences.


  • Typically 6-12 sessions
  • Often involves a discussion of traumatic events
  • Focuses on Content
  • May use hand movements, lights, sounds, or buzzers and can thus be adapted to client preference
  • More adaptable than ART
  • Can be used with children


  • Typically 1-5 sessions
  • Does not require clients to narrate their experiences to the therapist
  • Focuses on Emotions
  • Utilizes hand movements
  • More structured than EMDR

If you are not sure which treatment may be the best fit for you, talk to your therapist.