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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is practiced in Kitchener-Waterloo, London and the surrounding areas. Anchoridge Counselling takes pride in the therapy practice offered to help clients with individual needs.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma and many other mental health problems. EMDR is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Most forms of treatment tend to focus on altering emotions, thoughts, and responses toward traumatic experiences. EMDR, on the other hand, focuses on the memories involved and changing how the memories are stored in the brain to eliminate the symptoms.

aerial veiw of a forest. EMDR therapy in London Ontario

EMDR is based on the notion that our negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are the result of our unprocessed memories and experiences. The hypothesis behind the development of EMDR is that when traumatic events occur, our coping mechanisms can become overwhelmed and this leads to our memories being incorrectly processed and stored in our minds. When we then experience certain sights, sounds, smells, or circumstances the unprocessed memories are re-experienced as though it was the first time.

Treatment will start with your therapist gathering information about your current symptoms and history. Together, you will develop a plan of what distressing beliefs and/or experiences you would like to target, so as to find relief from the emotional disturbance tied to these beliefs or experiences. Your therapist will then use bilateral stimulation in short rounds lasting from 10- 60 seconds (such as left to right eye movements, alternating left and right audio tones, or alternating left and right tactile stimulation). This type of stimulation allows adaptive processing within the mind to occur; effectively reducing the distress related to the targets. Accessing those traumatic memories in a guided and safe environment can help you reprocess what is felt and remembered from the events. As a result, remembering those memories becomes more manageable and the feelings associated with the memories will no longer feel overwhelming.

Studies have consistently found that EMDR effectively decreases/eliminates the symptoms of post-traumatic stress for the majority of clients. Clients often report improvement in other associated symptoms such as anxiety. While EMDR is often thought of as a type of trauma therapy, it’s important to note that it can be widely adapted to bring about healing and relief from any difficult thoughts and feelings that may be related to stressful experiences. Research has found that EMDR can also be a useful treatment approach for depression, anxiety, distress due to body image and self-esteem, somatic disorders (ex. Phantom limb), and more.

Green velvet couch.  EMDR therapy in London Ontario

While some forms of trauma are more obvious, other forms may be more subtle, sometimes occurring over a long period of time rather than one overwhelming event. From bullying to verbal abuse to abandonment and neglect, trauma comes in as many forms, shapes and sizes as the human race. That means experiencing trauma is part of the human condition. When you feel traumatized you are a normal, feeling, thinking being who has had a perspective shift that can be shocking, startling, disconcerting and leave you feeling at a loss for how to respond.

Ocean shore with waves representing the ups and downs of life. EMDR therapy in London Ontario
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