EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that can come from disturbing life experiences. Studies have shown that by using EMDR people can experience the benefits of therapy that once took years to see a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires many years to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can heal from psychological trauma just as the body recovers from physical trauma.

What can I expect?

Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during the session. After the clinician has determined which memory to target first, they ask the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use their eyes to track the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across the client’s field of vision. Sets of eye movements are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing. Eventually the client’s memory shifts to adaptive thoughts and beliefs; for example, “I did the best that I could.”

The eye movements that occur during this therapy are associate with the biological mechanisms involved during dreaming or Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep which allow internal associations to arise, and the client begins to process the memory and disturbing feelings.

During EMDR therapy the client may experience intense emotions. By the end of the session most people report a significant reduction in distress connected with the memory.

What does it help with?

  • Abuse (physical, psychological/emotional, financial, sexual)
  • Anger issues
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Chronic Pain
  • Complex trauma and dissociation
  • Depressive disorders
  • Eating and body dysmorphic disorders
  • Emotional distress and dysregulation
  • Interpersonal relationship difficulties
  • Personality disorders
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other trauma related disorders
  • Sleep issues

edmonton institute of counselling

(780) 670-8843

13220 St Albert Trail NW 376 Edmonton, Alberta T5L 4W1