EMDR Therapy in Calgary
Heal your trauma with EMDR Therapy
What is EMDR Therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic bilateral stimulation 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).
When EMDR is a Good Fit
EMDR is not made for one specific person; everyone dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder or trauma can benefit from this treatment. Examples of adverse life experiences that EMDR can help treat include:
Other Uses Of EMDR Therapy
Get help treating troubling symptoms of traumatic events or life experiences, along with many other mental health issues.
Addressing Mental Health Concerns
How Does EMDR Therapy Work?
The Eight Phases of EMDR
Although every therapy session is tailored to you and your needs, your typical EMDR therapy session will take you through the eight-phase treatment.
You and your EMDR therapist work together to collect basic information about your background, personal history, and traumatic experiences.
Treatment Planning For EMDR Therapy
The memories that have not been pushed forward are identified, then the most disturbing part of the memory/incident becomes the processing target.
Example: Imagine the rapist’s face. The negative belief connected to psychological trauma is identified.
Example: I am going to die. A preferred, positive belief is named.
Example: I am safe now.
On a scale of 1-7, you will be asked to rate how true the positive belief feels when paired with the target. Usually, it does not feel very true at this point.
You will then be asked to name the emotions that target elicits. You will also be asked to rate the associated distress level on a scale of 0-10, and to locate the disturbance in the body.
Example: Fear and shame, with disturbance level 10 in the belly and chest.
You will be asked to hold awareness of the incident, the negative beliefs, emotions, and disturbing body sensations.
At the same time, the therapist guides your eyes to move rapidly back and forth or uses 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, you will be instructed to notice whatever changes occur in your 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 targeted memory and traumatic images become less and less disturbing, and the positive belief feels more and more true.
The target is completely processed when you’re asked to recall distressing images and they no longer bring 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.
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.
Benefits of EMDR
EMDR trauma therapy has been proven to help people through the healing process faster.
EMDR is able to reduce the chronic symptoms of trauma permanently.
EMDR does not rely on drugs or hypnosis, allowing you to stay completely in charge throughout the process.
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 successfully relieved chronic distress in victims of trauma.
Learn more about how EMDR therapy can facilitate lasting, positive change on our blog post.
Is EMDR Therapy Right for You?
EMDR is effective for treating trauma and is an appropriate method for addressing any disturbance that exists in the memory. If you have a negative emotional response to your memories, EMDR may be suitable for you.
Contact us today to find out more about our EMDR counselling services.
If you are currently in a crisis with limited stability and aren’t ready for EMDR practice, you may be a better fit for our other individual mental health services. All of our services are available in Calgary, Alberta.
Our Approach to EMDR Therapy
At Can’t We Just Get Along Counselling, we know your past traumas don’t define you. Our registered psychologists in our Calgary office will help determine the best therapy solution and work with you to receive positive growth results.
After we meet to discuss your traumatic memory, our highly-trained registered psychologists and certified EMDR therapists will work with you to help bring peace and clarity back to your life.
Get the Help You Need to Heal Your Trauma & Address Mental Health Concerns
Frequently Asked Questions
As a scientifically proven therapy method, EMDR is highly successful for candidates struggling with traumas. According to The Trauma Practice, traumatic stress studies have shown that 84-90% of single event trauma victims no longer had PTSD symptoms after three sessions. This is why it is one of the most recommended treatments for those suffering from PTSD or trauma.
Your EMDR treatment process 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 works, it can significantly shorten the overall length of time in therapy.
In the days or weeks after your session, you might continue to process the memories or flashbacks that were brought up during your EMDR session. 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.
EMDR is most effective when you are at a point where you can process your emotions. If you are in illegal proceedings, have little social support or are in a crisis with minimal stability, it may not be suitable for you. If you are looking for support with past traumatic events, we have many individual services to help you work through your emotions and create a healthy mental environment.
EMDR therapy will look different for everyone based on their trauma and their process of overcoming those challenges. Following your sessions, you may feel negative feelings as you have processed and come to terms with the trauma you went through. In the long run, EMDR will most likely benefit you and can be a solid solution that you can rely on.