Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing

EMDR was originally developed to treat Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since then, it has been proven to be highly effectively in treating a wide range of mental health problems:

  • anxiety and panic attacks
  • depression
  • stress
  • phobias
  • sleep problems
  • complicated grief
  • anger
  • self-esteem

How does EMDR work and help?

When something terrible happens to us (physical, psychological or emotional), we often feel as if that moment is "frozen in time." We replay everything in slow motion. EMDR is an 8 phase therapy that helps eliminate triggers and pain associated with the traumatic memory, so you are able to move forward even though the memory still remains.

PHASES 1 AND 2 - Preparation
Before beginning EMDR for the first time, it is important that a calm place is identify. This can be an image or memory that elicits comfortable feelings and a positive sense of self. This place can be used later to bring closure to an incomplete session or to help a client tolerate a particularly upsetting

In the first few sessions, the client's history is taken  to determine if EMDR is suitable for them and an overall treatment plan is discussed. During this process the therapist also identifies and clarifies potential targets for EMDR. Target refers to a disturbing issue, event, feeling, or memory for use as an initial focus for EMDR. With each target, maladaptive beliefs are identified as well (e.g., ʺI canʹt trust peopleʺ or ʺI canʹt protect myself.ʺ)

PHASES 3 to 7 - Desensitization

The desensitization phase is focused on working through these memories to decrease the current disturbance and negative thoughts associated with it. We work on installing positive, realistic and healthy thoughts for you. Any physical complaints from old remaining memories will be addressed as we move forward. The session will close with a brief check-in and planning for the next session.

PHASE 8 - Re-evaluation

At the beginning of the next session, the client reviews the week, discussing any
new sensations or experiences. The level of disturbance arising from the experiences targeted in the previous session is assessed. An objective of this phase is to ensure the processing of all relevant historical events.

What are the benefits of EMDR and it is for everyone?

EMDR can speed up therapy to resolve the effect of past traumas as well as allow one to live more fully in the present. Keep in mind that it is not for everyone as any other therapy. The process is rapid, and any disturbing experiences (if they occur at all), will last for a reasonably short period of time. However, one needs to be aware, disturbing feelings and thoughts sometimes occur during sessions. This does not mean that you are reliving it, but letting it pass by as it is reprocessed.

What happens during an EMDR session?

  • You will remain in control, fully alert and wide-awake
  • You can stop the process at any time
  • Throughout the session, the therapist will support and facilitate but will intervene as little as possible.
  • Reprocessing is usually experienced as something that happens spontaneously, and new connections and insights are felt to arise naturally from within.
  • Most people experience EMDR as being a natural and very empowering therapy.

What I need to do?

  • To keep an open mind
  • Be open, honest and accurate as possible about your past history and current experiences
  • Be fully commitment to completing the treatment (there are some exceptions to this rule)
  • Providing feedback on the process.