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What is EMDR Therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapeutic approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from different treatment approaches.

How does EMDR work?

EMDR uses a technique called bilateral stimulation to repeatedly activate opposite sides of the brain. Therapists often use eye movements to facilitate the bilateral stimulation. These eye movements mimic the period of sleep referred to as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This portion of sleep is frequently considered to be the time when the mind processes the recent events in the person’s life. In this way EMDR is believed to help us desensitize and reprocess difficult life events and traumas, such that we reinterpret and in a sense recode the story or stories of our lives that cause us the most chronic distress.

EMDR helps the brain reprocess traumatic memories in such a way that normal information processing is resumed. Therapists often use EMDR to help clients uncover and process beliefs that developed as the result relational traumas or childhood abuse and/or neglect. For a more detailed explanation please visit EMDR Canada.

What does EMDR help?

EMDR had been originally established as helpful for PTSD, although it’s been proven useful for treatment in the following conditions:

  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Complex trauma
  • Phobias
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Grief and loss

How can EMDR help me?

To take one common example of what this transformational process may effect, a full course of EMDR may greatly help a person move from a persistent and preoccupying belief  about a painful past event such as, “I am unlovable” and reassign meaning to the experiences that gave rise to that belief that then have the client reviewing these life events in an entirely different and much less painful way (e.g., thinking of the details of the event while knowing,“I am worthy of love”).

Many find that this reduction in emotional pain frees them up to the extent that, not only are they suffering and preoccupied much less by painful memories and hurtful messages to the self, but also that they can be more available to new and more nourishing experiences that life may have to offer.

Interestingly, the success of EMDR treatment does not rely on a client talking about the painful event(s) that are being reprocessed. This means it can be a particularly helpful part of treatment for those who do not feel ready to talk about such experiences.  

Contact me today for a free phone consultation to see if EMDR might help you release what no longer serves you.