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EMDR Therapy: What You Need to Know

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In Canada, around eight percent of the population has symptoms that meet the criteria for a probable PTSD diagnosis.

People have a number of different responses to trauma. This is because not everyone perceives the event in the same way.

Treating trauma can take time, and healing looks different for everyone. However, EMDR therapy has been proven to be very helpful for many people.

Starting therapy can be scary. Our goal with this guide is to make it less intimidating.

We are going to inform you about EMDR therapy. You'll learn what it is, how it works, and the pros and cons. Read on to take the first steps toward healing.

How EMDR Works

In 1987, a psychologist by the name of Dr. Francine Shapiro created a therapeutic technique called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy. Shapiro went through a traumatic event when her friend died from cancer. While walking down the street, Shapiro was thinking of disturbing thoughts associated with her friend’s death. Her eyes started moving up and down and left and right. She found that the eye movements reduced the emotional salience and decreased the intensity of the emotions and thoughts she was feeling.

Using bilateral stimulation, such as tapping, audio-tones, or eye movements, the client can process the trauma, which reduces the emotional salience or perceived disturbance of the event as the sessions progress. That is, while the person may still be able to recall the event, the disturbing or distressing feelings associated with the event become far less powerful as therapy progresses.

A Typical Session

Before starting EMDR therapy (or any therapy for that matter), it is important you feel comfortable and safe with your therapist. If you don't feel safe, it won't be as effective.

Knowing what to expect in a session will make you feel more comfortable and help you have a more successful appointment.

EMDR therapy at NeuroThrive Networks will consist of a series of sessions. They will be 75-90 minutes in duration. Targets will initially be identified that represent traumatic events, and particular preparatory steps will be developed prior to the initiation of treatment. EMDR can be used in conjunction with other therapies. It is non-invasive and safe to use for patients of all ages. Treatment typically alternates between EMDR therapy sessions and traditional counselling sessions.

Alternating between the two treatment modalities allows the individual to process the event in both brain hemispheres sequentially, which allows for maximal recovery from the trauma. In this way, the client reprocesses the traumatic event, which significantly decreases the emotional salience of the event(s).

Institute for EMDR

EMDR: The breakthrough therapy for overcoming anxiety, stress, trauma” by Francine Shapiro

EMDR as an integrative psychotherapy approach,” edited by Francine Shapiro

EMDR and family therapy processesFrancine Shapiro and Florence Kaslow