Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
"The past affects the present even without our being aware of it." - Francine Shapiro
Are you feeling stuck and exhausted from trying to cope with psychologically distressing emotions?
Suffering from the effects of a motor vehicle accident?
Struggling with being stuck in your past?
Experiencing difficulties in your relationships?
Frustrated with parenting?
Held back by symptoms of anxiety, panic, and/or depression?
Struggling with unresolved childhood trauma?
Battling intrusive flashbacks or PTSD?
Limited by overwhelming fear?
Distressed by adverse life experiences?
EMDR therapy can help you relieve painful, distressing symptoms, heal from trauma and adverse life experiences, and function more adaptively. Often clients who have made slow progress in the past, or who have found disappointment with traditional therapies, express that after EMDR they have at last found something helpful that works for them. Many clients have come to us after years of frustration and have tried a variety of mental health services to deal with debilitating symptoms of psychological distress. Following EMDR therapy, we frequently hear clients say they are amazed at how quickly EMDR therapy relieves them of distressing emotions that medications and other treatments could not.
EMDR is a powerful psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven to be highly effective in relieving many types of psychological distress. It's not hypnosis and doesn't erase memories, individuals are completely aware and in control during sessions. What it does do is help people to heal by reprocessing disturbing memories on a cognitive, physical, and emotional level; this allows individuals to see the disturbing material in a different, more adaptive way.
A psychologist requires specialized training to become an EMDR therapist who is skilled in the specific protocols and techniques used in EMDR treatments. EMDR therapists follow a set of standardized protocols that incorporate elements from cognitive behavioural therapy and other treatment approaches. Alberta Counselling Centre currently has two psychologists who are EMDR therapists. We are pleased to offer EMDR treatments, utilizing EMDR equipment that is authorized by the EMDR Institute for use with adults, adolescents, and children.
The Origins of EMDR
In 1987, a psychologist named Dr. Francine Shapiro began developing a therapy she called Eye Movement Desensitization and Processing (EMDR). Through her own personal experiences, she noticed that rapid eye movements can reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts. She set up numerous studies and conducted scientific research to examine the effects of EMDR treatment on victims of trauma. In 1989, Dr. Shapiro published her findings and reported success in using EMDR therapy to treat victims of trauma in the Journal of Traumatic Stress. Since then, EMDR has evolved and has been used to help relieve adults, adolescents, and children from psychological stress of adverse life experiences. To date, EMDR therapy has helped millions of individuals relieve many types of psychological stress. It is recommended and recognized as an effective treatment by the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and many other international health agencies. EMDR therapy has been established as an evidence based practice for the treatment of PTSD, anxiety, and depression symptoms. EMDR therapists have also reported success using EMDR with the following:
EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation, right/left eye movement, tactile stimulation, and/or auditory stimulation which repeatedly activates the opposite sides of the brain, helping to release emotional experiences that are stuck in the nervous system. In this way, EMDR works on a neurophysiological level, the basis of the mind/body connection, to allow the system to remove blockages and reconnect itself. As disturbing images and feelings are processed by the brain, resolution of disturbing emotions, relief from distress, and a more peaceful state are achieved.
"Changing the memories that form the way we see ourselves also changes the way we view others. Therefore, our relationships, job performance, what we are willing to do or are able to resist, all move in a positive direction." - Francine Shapiro