What is EMDR?

negative emotions trauma word cloud


“EMDR” or “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing” is an effective guided movement therapy technique scientifically shown to “reprocess” painful memories. It involves a step-by-step procedure that help you recover from past trauma in a safe, secure, and trusting environment. Traumatic events, memories, phobias, fears or other such problems are slowly revisited using EMDR over the course of several visits with qualified EMDR therapist.

Disturbing past experiences, traumas, fears or phobias can be associated with uncontrollable flashbacks that can interfere with your everyday life. The underlying negative memories can have lasting effects on your overall life. These unpleasant experiences can cause you problems such as anxiety, depression, stress, difficulty concentrating, panic attacks or insomnia. These symptoms can be treated by EMDR.

How long?

How long the treatment or sessions you need depends on what you have experienced in the past. For example, the severity, the frequency or recurrence of traumatic events will influence your recovery. Other factors such as the pace of therapy depends on your particular level of comfort associated with the discussing your trauma or phobia. There is no fixed answer or speed to how long it will take to overcome your problems. We go at your comfort rate. And you can stop the EMDR process at anytime. You are always in control of the EMDR process.

What does this look like in the therapy room?

Before you can start processing trauma or phobias, you need to be comfortable with your therapist. This will take a few sessions. During your first few sessions, therapist will gather information about your past memories. Then your therapist will assess your needs and create a treatment is plan tailored to your needs.

Since its development, EMDR, has evolved to using eye movements, to physical tapping, and listening to beeps in both ears. During an EMDR session your therapist will use one of these movement techniques and guide you to recall traumatic events from the past. You will be asked to express your negative thoughts associated with these events as you will be gently guided through your past painful memories. The therapist always stays in tune with your comfort level. Overtime your anxiety related to past memories is reduced setting you free from some of the debilitating effects of the past. You may need multiple sessions to reprocess your memories. EMDR works at reducing the negative emotions associated with your memories. It does not erase or delete the memories from your brain. The goal is to make you feel calmer and more at ease with these memories.

If you or someone you love, needs help with healing from past emotional wounds, trauma, or negative experiences and would like to get more information using EMDR, contact Family-Therapy in Ottawa / Kanata at: 613-287-3799 or visit the Family-Therapy website at: www.family-therapy.ca