Counselling services

EMDR Trauma Therapy

Heal your trauma with EMDR Therapy

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What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic technique where the EMDR therapist asks the client to focus on a troubling memory or emotion while moving the eyes rapidly back and forth (by following the therapist’s fingers).

Eyes

Benefits of EMDR

EMDR is recognized all over the world as an effective treatment of trauma and PTSD.

Faster Healing

EMDR has been proven to help people through the trauma healing process faster.

Permanent Effects

Permanent Effects

EMDR is able to permanently reduce the chronic symptoms of trauma.

No Pills

No-Drug Therapy

EMDR does not rely on drugs or hypnosis, and you stay completely in charge throughout.

When EMDR is a good fit

Examples of traumatic life events that EMDR can help treat include:

  • Grief and loss
  • Falls or sports injuries
  • Surgery (especially in the first 3 years of life)
  • The sudden death of someone close
  • A car accident
  • The breakup of a significant relationship
  • Finding out about infidelity
  • A humiliating or deeply disappointing experience
  • The discovery of a life-threatening illness or disabling condition
  • Sexual abuse
  • Bullying
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Healing Trauma

EMDR can help ease the symptoms of childhood trauma, major traumatic events, or smaller, chronic negative experiences.

At Can’t We Just Get Along Counselling, we can help you evaluate whether EMDR therapy is right for you.

Other uses of EMDR Therapy

Get help treating troubling symptoms of traumatic events or life experiences, along with many other mental health issues.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Complicated grief
  • Phantom Limb Pain
  • Peak performance
  • Panic attacks
  • Performance anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Addictions
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Is EMDR therapy right for your treatment plan?

Contact us today to find out more about our EMDR counselling services.

How EMDR works

Getting ready for treatment

EMDR therapy can be an intense, emotional experience. Your therapist will work with you to increase your emotional tolerance and emotional regulation, so you can deal with highly disturbing emotions.

This phase of the treatment prepares you and ensures that the experience of trauma therapy is never traumatizing.

  • You will be prepared to revisit painful memories without being overwhelmed or unable to cope with your emotions.
  • Your therapist will be there to support you. A skilled therapist you trust can help you heal from traumatic experiences and put the past in the past.
Man holding his head talks while on a couch.
An eye

Eye Movement

The beneficial effects of EMDR therapy are facilitated by alternating stimulation of the right and left hemispheres of the brain, such as eye movements, taps, or tones.

Desensitization

Desensitization

Reduces the negative emotional response associated with a traumatic memory or disturbing event.

Reprocessing

Reprocessing

Replaces any unhealthy, negative beliefs associated with traumatic memories with more healthy, positive beliefs.

The origin of
EMDR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy was developed in 1989 after Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. observed that the intensity of her disturbing thoughts and feelings decreased after her eyes had been moving rapidly back and forth.

Dr. Shapiro decided to explore this phenomenon further for her doctoral thesis in psychology. Through her research, she found that using rapid eye movements was very successful in relieving chronic distress in victims of trauma.

Learn more about how EMDR therapy can facilitate lasting, positive change on our blog post.

EMDR Session: What to Expect

Although every therapy session is tailored to you and your needs, you will typically go through 8 different phases throughout your EMDR therapy sessions.

Phase 1

Background

You and your EMDR therapist work together to collect basic information about your background, personal history, and the traumatic experience.

Phase 2

Preparing for EMDR therapy

You and your therapist work to ensure that you are comfortable dealing with difficult memories and have resources, support, and a plan for making therapy a positive experience.

Phase 3

Assessment

  • The memories that have not been pushed forward in time are identified, then the most disturbing part of the memory/incident becomes the processing target.

    Example: Image of the rapist's face. The negative belief connected to the trauma is identified.

    Example: I am going to die. A preferred, positive belief is named.

    Example: I am safe now.

    The client is asked to rate (on a 1-7 scale) how true the positive belief feels when paired with the target. Usually, it does not feel very true at this point.

  • The client is asked to name the emotions the target elicits. You will also be asked to rate the associated distress level (on a 0-10 scale) and to locate the disturbance in the body. Example: Fear and shame, with disturbance level 10 in the belly and chest.

Phase 4

Desensitization

  • The client is asked to hold in awareness the incident, the negative belief, emotions, and the disturbing body sensations.
  • At the same time, the therapist guides the client's eyes to move rapidly back and forth or use pulsating pods that are held in each hand. This is done in sets, which may last from a few seconds to a few minutes.
  • During each set, the client is instructed to just notice whatever changes occur in mind and body, without controlling the experience in any way. Very often, in the first few sets, there is an increase in the disturbance level. However, after a while, with each new set, the memory becomes less and less disturbing and the positive belief feels more and more true.

Phase 5

Installation

The target is completely processed when recall of the image no longer brings up disturbing emotions, and the preferred positive belief feels totally true.

Example: The client recalls that the rapist’s face was threatening then but does not feel threatened by the image anymore.

Phase 6

Body Scan

To complete trauma processing you are then asked to scan your body and find any leftover somatic (body) disturbance which is also cleared and dissipates.

Phase 7

Closure

The session ends with more resourcing and a plan for how you will cope between sessions; the tools and support you use to deal with any side effects.

Phase 8

Re-Evaluation

At the beginning of your next session, a re-evaluation is done on your integration of the now processed memories to ensure desensitization is complete.

Our Therapy Services

Is your trauma causing relationship problems?

EMDR therapy can be effectively be used on its own or as part of other therapy services, including:

  • Marriage counselling
  • Individual counselling
  • Family therapy & counselling
A man rubbing his eyes
Two woman talking excitedly to each other

Book an Appointment for EMDR Therapy

Our EMDR therapy sessions are led by highly-trained registered psychologists and EMDR-certified therapists from our office in Calgary, Alberta.

Frequently Asked Questions

Although every therapy session is tailored to you and your needs, you will typically go through 8 different phases throughout your EMDR therapy sessions.

What is EMDR therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a non-drug, non-hypnosis psychotherapy procedure. This type of therapy uses bilateral stimulation – a rapid eye movement that occurs naturally during dreaming. Focusing on traumatic thoughts, feelings, or mental images while going through bilateral stimulation can help heal trauma faster.

What is EMDR therapy used for?

EMDR is used to treat symptoms of trauma, such as anxiety, depression, guilt, anger, and post-traumatic reactions. It can also be used to boost confidence and self-esteem.

What happens during an EMDR therapy session?

EMDR is different for everyone. You might uncover past issues or memories and unpleasant emotions or body sensations, which typically pass within a few minutes, as long as the EMDR is not stopped.

How long does EMDR therapy take?

Your treatment plan depends on the severity of the trauma, your history, and your ability to tolerate high levels of distress. In some cases, one EMDR treatment session is enough. Usually, it takes weeks to months, but sometimes years of treatment are required. However, when EMDR therapy is used appropriately, it can significantly shorten the overall length of time in therapy.

Why bring up a painful memory in EMDR therapy?

When painful memories are avoided, they keep a disturbing power. With EMDR therapy you can face the memory in a safe setting so they don’t overwhelm you. EMDR helps your brain reprocess the traumatic memory, so normal information processing is restored.

Will I be in control during EMDR therapy?

It is hard to predict the thoughts, feelings, or memories that might come up during EMDR. You are always in charge of whether to continue or stop. You can also decide how much to tell the therapist about the experience.

Are there any precautions?

Yes, you should choose only an EMDR-certified therapist for treatment. Otherwise, there is a risk that EMDR would be incomplete, ineffective, or even harmful.

What happens after an EMDR therapy session?

In the days or weeks after your session, you might continue to process the memories or flashbacks that were brought up during your EMDR therapy. If you have new insights, vivid dreams, strong feelings, or memory recall, those should be shared with your therapist at the next session. If you feel overwhelmed, you can contact your therapist at any time.