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EMDR in the Treatment of Eating Disorders

A Presentation by Mirasol Clinicians to the University of Arizona College of Medicine Psychiatry Grand Rounds.

Ann Twilley Garcia, MA, LPC, Trauma Therapist

Mirasol clinicians were recently featured at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Psychiatry Grand Rounds. Speakers included Medical Director Stephen Remolina, Executive Director Diane Ryan, Clinical Director Maeve Shaughnessy, Nutrition Director Anne Ganje and Trauma Therapist Ann Twilley Garcia.

The purpose of the Psychiatry Grand Rounds series is to provide mental health professionals with updates on psychiatric topics with the goal of increasing knowledge, competence and patient care. The full presentation is available on the Univeristy of Arizona's Biomedical Communications website at

EMDR uses bilateral stimulation to assist in processing traumatic memories and information.

A typical EMDR session begins by establishing safety and then activating the trauma memory network by asking a series of questions. A set of clappers, headphones or a light bar is used to provide bilateral stimulation. The clappers generate an alternating electronic pulse, which induces a trance-like state.

By accessing traumatic memories in a safe environment, the client is able to develop new and more positive associations between the traumatic memory and more adaptive memories or information. These new associations are thought to result in complete information processing, new learning, elimination of emotional distress, and development of cognitive insights.

More Videos in This Series

  • Dr. Stephen Remolina The Complexity of Eating Disorders
    Stephen Remolina, MD, Medical Director
    Dr. Remolina shares some of his experiences in working with eating disorders and demonstrates how complicated they can be by presenting case histories for bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
  • Diane Ryan What's New in Eating Disorder Research?
    Diane Ryan, LPC, MA, Executive Director
    Ryan highlights some of the latest research on eating disorders, especially binge eating disorder, which is in the spotlight right now because of its recent addition to the DSM-V
  • Maeve Shaughnessy Treating Eating Disorders: An Integrative Approach
    Maeve Shaughnessy, MS, LPC, Clinical Director
    Eating disorders rarely occur in a vacuum. They are frequently accompanied by anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder, so it's essential to treat the whole person — mind, body and spirit.
  • Anne Ganje The Registered Dietitian's Role in the Treatment of Eating Disorders
    Anne Ganje, RD, Nutrition Director
    The dietitian's role is challenging because she is in charge of the clients' food. This can be very activating and stressful for clients, but it also provides many opportunities for the client to process anger.