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EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that helps people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress as a result of previous traumatic or disturbing life experiences. EMDR therapy facilitates the processing of traumatic memories and other difficult life experiences to help transform them to an adaptive resolution. EMDR therapy involves attention to three time periods: the past, present, and future. Focus is given to past upsetting memories and related events, to current situations that cause distress, and to developing the skills and attitudes needed for positive future behaviours. EMDR involves a multi-phase treatment approach which includes; history taking, resource development and active reprocessing of identified traumas or stressors. During EMDR therapy the client attends to emotionally disturbing material while also focusing on an external stimulus. These external stimuli might include clinician directed lateral eye movements, hand-tapping/stimulation or audio stimulation.
Francine Shapiro, the developer of EMDR, hypothesizes that EMDR therapy facilitates the accessing of the traumatic memory network so that information processing is enhanced, with new associations made between a traumatic memory and more adaptive information. After successful treatment with EMDR therapy, affective distress is relieved, negative beliefs are reformulated, and physiological arousal is reduced. Furthermore, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level.
At The Therapy Centre, we have clinicians who use EMDR to treatment a number of problems such as depression, anxiety, grief, loss, trauma, chronic illness, pain, and sleep disturbances.