How EMDR helps people heal

What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a groundbreaking psychotherapy approach that has gained significant recognition in recent years. Developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro, EMDR has emerged as a powerful technique for treating trauma, anxiety, phobias, and a range of other mental health conditions.


EMDR sessions

Before beginning EMDR therapy, the therapist will typically conduct an initial evaluation to assess the patient’s mental health and determine whether EMDR is an appropriate treatment option. If EMDR is deemed appropriate, the therapist will work with the patient to identify a specific traumatic or distressing memory to target during the therapy sessions.


During the actual EMDR session, the therapist will guide the patient through a series of eye movements, taps, or sounds while the patient recalls the targeted memory. This process may be repeated multiple times during the session, and the therapist will check in with the patient periodically to assess their level of distress.


Understanding EMDR Therapy:

  1. The Adaptive Information Processing Model: EMDR therapy is based on the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model, which posits that the mind has an innate capacity to heal itself when provided with the appropriate conditions. Traumatic experiences can become “stuck” in the brain, leading to negative emotions, beliefs, and distressing symptoms. EMDR aims to unlock and process these trapped memories, facilitating adaptive resolution.

  2. Eight Phases of EMDR Therapy: EMDR therapy consists of eight structured phases designed to guide clients through the healing process. These phases include history taking, preparation, assessment, desensitization, installation, body scan, closure, and reevaluation. Each phase focuses on different aspects of the traumatic memory, aiming to alleviate distress and promote integration.

  3. Bilateral Stimulation: One of the distinctive features of EMDR therapy is the use of bilateral stimulation. This involves alternating stimulation of both sides of the body or sensory input (such as eye movements, tapping, or auditory tones). Bilateral stimulation activates both hemispheres of the brain, facilitating the processing of traumatic memories and associated emotions.

The Benefits of EMDR Therapy:

  1. Trauma Resolution: EMDR therapy has been extensively researched and proven effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Through the reprocessing of traumatic memories, EMDR helps individuals experience reduced distress, decreased avoidance, and an enhanced sense of safety and empowerment.

  2. Anxiety and Phobia Reduction: EMDR therapy has demonstrated promising results in alleviating anxiety disorders and phobias. By targeting the underlying traumatic experiences that contribute to these conditions, EMDR can help individuals break free from the grip of irrational fears and regain control over their lives.

  3. Enhanced Self-esteem and Self-empowerment: EMDR therapy promotes a positive shift in an individual’s self-perception and belief systems. By identifying and reprocessing negative beliefs associated with traumatic experiences, EMDR enables clients to develop more adaptive and empowering beliefs about themselves, fostering increased self-esteem and resilience.

  4. Improved Emotional Regulation: EMDR therapy equips individuals with the skills to regulate their emotions more effectively. By processing traumatic memories, clients experience reduced emotional reactivity, enhanced emotional resilience, and improved ability to cope with triggers and stressors.

  5. Accelerated Healing: Compared to traditional talk therapies, EMDR therapy has been found to facilitate faster healing and resolution of traumatic experiences. The structured nature of EMDR, combined with bilateral stimulation, promotes rapid information processing and adaptive integration, allowing individuals to move beyond their past traumas more efficiently.


EMDR therapy has revolutionized the field of psychotherapy, offering a highly effective and evidence-based approach to trauma treatment and mental health healing. Through its unique combination of bilateral stimulation and the AIP model, EMDR enables individuals to reprocess traumatic memories, leading to profound emotional healing and transformation. As research continues to validate its efficacy, EMDR therapy is becoming increasingly recognized as a powerful tool for individuals seeking relief from the burdens of the past and a pathway to a brighter, more


Calgary EMDR Clinic specializes in EMDR

We are specialists in EMDR because we believe it is a transformative healing therapy. Book a free consultation and learn how EMDR can help you heal.


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