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The new "trend" of EMDR

Mental health can be a world of "hot topics" and new "trendy" words that get splashed around the internet. EMDR is psychology's new hot therapeutic trend and here is what you need to know about it.


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is what EMDR stands for. Similar to other therapeutic approaches, EMDR focuses on the client's present concerns, and how past emotionally charged experiences (or past traumatic events) influence your present emotions, sensations, thoughts and your behaviors. Many clients report thoughts like "I feel unlovable" followed by "but I know that I am loved." Cognitively they are aware that their thoughts are misaligned and irrational however it is not enough to influence and change the negative thoughts and feelings that still occur to them. Sometimes that is not the case for clients, and there is less cognitive awareness of irrational thoughts (i.e. the thoughts feel rational and aligned with reality). How EMDR differs from other approaches is that it works on a neurological level, to help client's break through emotional blocks that keep them from living an emotionally healthy and adaptive life.


How does EMDR work?

EMDR uses bilateral stimulus (BLS) which is a technique that alternates between movement on the right and left side of the body. Most commonly this is done using rapid sets of eye movements, which helps the client update disturbing experiences. BLS can also be used by marching, walking, and tapping. This replicates a process that your body does naturally, REM sleep. During sleep, the body naturally alternates between light, deep and REM sleep cycles. REM sleep is where the brain helps you process things that are troubling you, followed by your light and deep sleep cycles which help you rest and restore normalcy. During an EMDR session, your therapist will guide you through alternating sets of eye movements (or another means of BLS) and brief reports of what you are noticing. This process helps you update your traumatic memories to a more adaptive and healthier perspective.


What is "resourcing" referring too?

Resourcing is a term that is used in EMDR therapy that refers to building the clients adaptive or positive network. Client's can think of it like their "cushy place to land" after they finish processing in the negative networks. An example of resourcing around a negative network of "powerlessness" ("I am powerless") would be focusing on memories, feelings, positive experiences, etc., in which the client felt in control or "I have power over myself". Building the positive network allows the client to align with more positive and adaptive beliefs when encountering new situations and information as well as recalling this new positive belief while processing maladaptive negative beliefs.


How does EMDR differ from other forms of therapy?

  • EMDR focuses on neurological processes, whereas most other therapeutic processes focus on psychological processes.

  • EMDR focuses on the brain's ability to learn continuously, this adaptive process takes past experiences and updates them with more present and healthy information.

  • In the adaptive learning theory, our brains are constantly updating memory network systems; with emotionally charged past experiences interfering with the updating process.

  • EMDR helps client's process traumatic experiences and past emotionally charged experiences, allowing client's to let go and update their experiences to a healthier present perspective.

  • EMDR works by resourcing client's in a positive way, before processing negative emotional experiences.

  • EMDR uses set protocols to help client's reorganize their negative and positive feelings, emotions, and thoughts, followed by bilateral stimulation, thus helping client's effectively work through disturbing memories and traumatic experiences.


What can you expect in your appointment using EMDR?

Many clients can feel apprehensive or nervous going into their first counselling session, regardless of approach. Generally when I am working with new client's we spend the first session building therapeutic rapport, discussing treatment goals or concerns, exploring necessary background information to assist us in formulating a treatment plan and going over any questions/concerns the client may have. Regardless of whether or not the client wants EMDR therapy compared to other therapeutic approaches, the above steps are equally important. EMDR may not be a good fit for every client, for many reasons, and the therapist needs to determine the best approach to help you meet your goals and needs in the most competent and safe manner possible. Typically within the first couple of sessions questions about how EMDR works, how it can help clients and how we can incorporate it into the client's treatment plan are discussed.

If you are interested in using EMDR to explore during your therapeutic sessions click the "Book an Appointment" Button for a free 15 minute consultation.



EMDR Brochure supplied by EMDR Consulting @



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