EMDR Therapy for Couples

EMDR Therapy for Couples

In the modern world, couples often seek therapy to navigate the challenges that can arise in their relationships. One innovative approach that has shown promising results in couples therapy is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Originally designed to treat trauma, EMDR therapy has evolved to address a wider range of emotional and psychological issues. In this blog, we will explore the application of EMDR therapy in couples counselling and how it can help partners heal and grow together.

Understanding EMDR Therapy

EMDR therapy was developed by Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s and was initially intended to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories. It involves a structured eight-phase process that incorporates bilateral stimulation, typically through eye movements. The therapist guides the individual to focus on distressing memories while simultaneously engaging in bilateral stimulation, allowing the brain to process the memory in a more adaptive way. Over time, EMDR therapy has proven effective not only for trauma but also for various anxiety disorders, phobias, and other emotional difficulties.

EMDR in Couples Therapy: A New Approach

While traditionally used as an individual therapy, EMDR has gradually made its way into couples counselling. The underlying principle is that couples, like individuals, can carry unresolved traumas, negative beliefs, and emotional triggers that hinder their relationship’s growth. By using EMDR techniques in couples therapy, therapists aim to address these issues more effectively.

How EMDR Can Benefit Couples

Addressing Past Traumas: Just as individuals can be haunted by traumatic experiences, couples can be burdened by collective traumas, such as infidelity, loss, or significant conflicts. EMDR can help partners process these shared distressing events, facilitating understanding, empathy, and healing.

Reframing Negative Beliefs: Couples often develop negative beliefs about themselves or each other due to past experiences. EMDR can target these beliefs and help reprocess them, allowing partners to perceive themselves and their relationship in a healthier and more positive light.

Resolving Emotional Triggers: Every couple has their triggers—words, actions, or situations that evoke strong emotional responses. EMDR can help partners identify the underlying memories or experiences that contribute to these triggers, allowing them to manage their reactions more constructively.

Enhancing Communication: EMDR therapy encourages open and empathetic communication. As partners share their thoughts and feelings during sessions, the bilateral stimulation can help them process their emotions more effectively and listen to each other with greater understanding.

Building Stronger Connections: By addressing past traumas and negative beliefs, couples can cultivate a deeper emotional bond. The healing process through EMDR can foster resilience and promote growth, ultimately strengthening the relationship.

Cultivating Mutual Reconciliation and Growth: EMDR sessions can provide a safe and structured environment for partners to reconcile together. Sharing vulnerabilities and witnessing each other’s progress can create a sense of shared accomplishment and closeness.


EMDR therapy’s expansion into couples counselling offers a promising avenue for partners seeking to overcome their challenges and build healthier, more fulfilling relationships. By addressing past traumas, negative beliefs, and emotional triggers, couples can work together, forging a stronger bond in the process. As EMDR continues to evolve and adapt, it holds the potential to transform the landscape of couples therapy, offering new avenues for connection and healing. If you’re considering couples counselling, exploring the possibilities of incorporating EMDR therapy could be a transformative step towards a more vibrant and harmonious relationship.

EMDR Therapy for Couples at Mindful Living

If you and your partner are interested in experiencing EMDR Therapy together and it’s benefits for yourselves, Harshani Algiriya is our couples therapist who can support you. To make an appointment with her, or to find out more, please call our friendly team on 03 9688 8049.