EMDR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was developed in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro. EMDR has been proven in scientific research to be an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress, panic attacks, grief, phobias, addiction, anxiety, stress reduction, pain disorders, past abuse, as well as other issues.

EMDR is based on the premise that when a person is very distressed, the brain is not able to process information as it would normally. Unprocessed emotions are stored in the nervous system, creating maladaptive emotional and physical responses. When an upsetting event occurs, the resulting memories may be so real that they interfere with daily life. This is because the images, feelings, sounds, thoughts, and smells have not been processed, affecting the way we view the world and the way that we relate to other people.

EMDR has an effect on the way that the brain processes information, and facilitates healing of past negative events. In other words – following EMDR, when a previously upsetting event is brought to mind, a person will no longer relive the images, sounds, and feelings from before. Although the event will still be remembered, it will be less upsetting.

The use of EMDR can take one or more sessions to clear out negative material from each targeted memory – memories that are targeted for processing are those which continue to have a negative effect on a person. The number of sessions required for each individual will depend on the specific issue, life circumstances, and the degree of previous trauma experienced.

At the start of treatment, a problem is identified and one of several types of bilateral stimulation (tracking hand movements with the eyes, use of tapping on the knees, or holding a tactile pulser in each hand) is used to process disturbing memories. During EMDR, intense emotions and physical responses may be experienced, however most people report a significant reduction in the level of disturbance at the end of the process.

Additional Resources

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EMDR International Association

Questions on Counselling

How do I know if I need counselling?

Sometimes we need to seek help from a trained professional to work through problems that we are encountering. You may need counselling if:

  • you are feeling overwhelmed, and your problems do not seem to improve despite your best efforts
  • you are having difficulties in your relationships
  • it is difficult to carry out your daily routine, performance at work is affected, relationships are strained, or you are not feeling like you are coping effectively
  • You are using alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, or other means that are negatively affecting your life
  • You feel unhappy or hopeless
What can I expect in a first session?

During the first session, paperwork is completed as well as a functional assessment. I will ask about your concerns and what has brought you to therapy. Once all information has been gathered, goals for therapy and a treatment plan can be discussed.

How do I know if it’s the right fit for me?

You should feel comfortable with your psychologist and be able to discuss personal information. It is important to have a good rapport with your psychologist and feel at ease with him/her.

In order to determine if we are a good fit for each other, I offer a free 20 minute consultation.

How long are sessions?

Sessions are 60 minutes in length, which includes admin time (i.e. payment, booking next appointments, etc). Longer sessions may be arranged in 15 minute segments.

How many sessions are required?

Therapy is individual to each person and the amount of time required is dependant on several factors. Some of these factors include the nature of the concerns brought to therapy, complexity of the issues, amount of work completed outside of sessions, and motivation to change.

What is the cost?

The Fee Schedule recommended by the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta is a guideline for setting fees for services. My fees are set using this schedule as a guideline. You can access this fee schedule on the Psychologists’ Association website at www.psychologistsassociation.ab.ca.

My fee for individual sessions is $220/hour.

Alberta Health Care does not cover the cost of psychological services. However, I will issue a receipt for fees paid, and if you have an insurance plan, this may be submitted to your insurance company for full or partial re-imbursement.

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