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October 24th, 2022

EMDR therapy for trauma

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What is EMDR?

EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a Psychotherapy tool commonly used for trauma. This evidence-based treatment is beneficial for emotional distress, including traumatic stress and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

EMDR therapy is a powerful, yet gentle approach to trauma treatment that is effective for both the emotional and cognitive effects of trauma. EMDR therapy is a method for processing upsetting memories in a flexible and adaptive manner, leading to improved memory recall and emotional regulation.

It was originally used to treat PTSD, but now the technique is also used to treat anxiety and many other mental health issues. Because it works on a rapid eye movement (REM) basis, EMDR triggers the process of brain plasticity by helping to repair damaged neural pathways.

EMDR is used to treat:

  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • anxiety
  • phobias
  • depression
  • emotional pain
  • grief
  • post-partum
  • anxiety disorders
  • OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)
  • panic attacks
  • stress

What are EMDR sessions like?

EMDR uses a series of eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation to process the traumatic memories. Sessions allow clients to process those distressing memories in a systematic fashion bringing greater understanding, increased coping skills and less distress.

During a therapy session clients are asked to recall past trauma while receiving one-to-one guidance. The therapist guides the client through sets of bilateral stimulation — left and right alternating eye movements, or taps on each hand. This occurs simultaneously while speaking about their trauma. Left and right stimulation help to process emotions separately on both sides of the brain, creating a more effective memory recall. These eye movements lessen the power of emotionally charged memories of past traumatic events.

Can EMDR be done virtually?

Absolutely! EMDR therapists utilize the same techniques and protocols to provide virtual appointments as they would for in-person. EMDR is quite adaptable for both environments. However, it is important to note that EMDR therapy is so much more than just eye movement or tapping. It is a process of healing and growth at a holistic level that can only be accessed through working directly with an experienced practitioner.

Our EMDR therapist, Alina Phillip offers EMDR therapy either in-person or virtually.


EMDR and CBT are both effective in treating trauma. However, EMDR focuses on emotional processing, which may be more effective for some people. While CBT works with modifying behaviours.

EMDR Therapy is a proven treatment for trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychological issues. This type of therapy allows you to process current triggers and past experiences that hold you back from the life you want to lead.

EMDR therapy works by helping you understand and transform the painful emotions, thoughts and physical sensations that are connected to difficult or traumatic experiences.

Find the Right Therapist and Approach

Book a free 15-minute Meet and Greet with one of our professionals to find the right type of therapy and therapist for your needs.