EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a therapeutic strategy that has been very successful in helping people who struggle with anxiety and other emotional disturbances and it is the approach that I specialize in. In my opinion, EMDR Therapy is the closest thing to a magic wand that I have found in counselling. In my practice, I have successfully treated clients suffering with drinking problems, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, panic disorders, sleep disturbances, confidence issues, body image issues, and other problems using EMDR Therapy. EMDR is now recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is one of the 2 approaches to therapy they recommend for PTSD. It is helpful to understand a little bit about the process before you try EMDR Therapy and enjoy its great benefits.
1- How EMDR Therapy works?
An EMDR therapist will work together with their client guiding him/her into identifying the disturbing event and the effects it has on the clients present day life. EMDR Therapy will target your past events, the current triggers, and future scenarios. The client will focus on the past event while following the therapist’s hand, as it moves back and forth, being aware of whatever comes to mind. The sets of eye movements are repeated until the memory associate the disturbing event under a more positive perspective. For example, instead of thinking, “It was my fault”, the client will think, “I did the best I could”. People might feel emotional during the process, but by the end of the session, most people often report a greatly reduced reaction. It may take more than one session for the disturbance to be properly healed but EMDR Therapy is known as an “accelerated healing process” and healing usually occurs at a fast rate. It is now understood that EMDR replicates REM sleep in the nervous system which activates the bodies natural process for healing. Please watch the YouTube video from a 20/20 documentary at the bottom of this article for more information.
2- How do I find an EMDR therapist?
EMDR therapy is a very clinical, well researched but complex approach to therapy and it should only be conducted by certified a EMDR therapist. I have received my advanced level certification in EMDR Therapy and I am a member of EMDRAC (EMDR Canada) and EMDRIA (EMDR International Association). Learn more about me. I have extensive experience treating men on many areas including addictions, depression, anxiety, relationships, self-esteem and trauma.
To find other EMDR Therapists in your area, you can find the directories on the EMDR Canada website and the EMDRIA website. Also for people in British Columbia, Canada, you can search by approach on two other websites, BC Counsellors and Counselling BC.
3- How will I feel during EMDR therapy?
During your EMDR session you can decide to use the lights, alternate sounds, tactile pulsars, waiving hands, knee tapping going. You also get to say when you want to stop and take beaks – you are in control. During your session, you will not need to completely re-live the event or go into every detail. Some memories are repressed for a reason and you won’t need to “dig up” memories you don’t want to or are not ready to. You are in charge during the process. The counsellor is there guide you and facilitate the process. In order to stay in the present while processing the past, it is important to trust your therapist and follow their instructions. If you feel the EMDR process is too intense, your therapist can use techniques to make it more manageable. It is a collaborative effort but you are the one holding the reigns.
This case study shows quite well the effectiveness of EMDR Therapy. In 2007 I finished my training in EMDR. I had been seeing a client regularly for one year during that time. Once I was able to treat him with EMDR, we only needed 2 sessions using EMDR to clear up what was bothering him and he no longer needed to come for treatment. EMDR has shown me time and time again to be an accelerated healing process.
If you have questions in regards to EMDR Therapy, please don’t hesitate in contacting me. You can also book a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to learn more about me and about EMDR so you can be sure that this is the best option for you.