At Gibson & Associates, our team of therapists are equipped to offer multiple psychotherapy approaches, including EMDR Therapy.
First developed back in 1987 by Francine Shapiro, EMDR is intended to help patients cope with difficult emotions, reduce anxiety, and improve self-esteem. It is a type of talk therapy that provides a way for you to process and release traumatic memories, distressing thoughts, and/or difficult emotions. If you’re feeling like you’ve tried everything, EMDR therapy might be the right next step for you. We currently offer EMDR sessions in-person at our offices in Toronto or London, ON and online throughout Ontario.
What Is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR therapy or “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing” therapy is an integrative type of psychotherapy that has been shown to assist individuals with healing from emotional distress that results from past disturbing life experiences or traumas. In fact, repeated studies have shown that EMDR therapy can provide the benefits of years of psychotherapy in a much shorter amount of time. Some studies show that 84%-100% of single-trauma victims recover from PTSD after only 3 90-minute sessions.
The journey to healing past trauma often includes lots of trial and error. Many patients come to us having tried everything, exercise, meditation, journaling, etc., and while these things can be helpful, they may not have solved the root problem. If you are experiencing PTSD, depression, anxiety, grief, or panic attacks from past trauma or events, EMDR can be an effective option for healing.
How Does EMDR Therapy Work?
While there are many types of trauma therapy, EMDR is unique in that it uses bi-lateral stimulation to treat and heal your brain. Bi-lateral stimulation refers to the use of alternating left-right physical or auditory stimuli to help you reprocess memories.
Often when you experience trauma, your brain can’t or doesn’t process it properly. This can leave you stuck in your memories and unprocessed emotions. While the memory may be gone or vague, often the painful feelings continue to be triggered, resulting in panic attacks, anger, depression, and other distressing mental conditions.
The bilateral stimulation in EMDR therapy helps your brain process painful memories from the past differently, which reduces the emotional pain associated with these memories so that they no longer negatively impact your life. This is offered as a structured approach that works with the adaptive functioning of the brain (i.e. how your brain works naturally). EMDR helps the brain to recode those traumatic memories, so they are sorted as past events and no longer set off the alarm response.
What To Expect From an EMDR Session?
The first step in any therapy treatment is the assessment. Your EMDR therapist will ask you questions regarding your symptoms, the problem you’re experiencing, and how it’s impacting your life. This provides us with a baseline for where to start with treatment and will allow your therapist to start linking your concerns with past unprocessed events. Your therapist will also take the time to go over what the process is like and answer any questions you have.
The next phase is called “processing”. During the processing sessions, you’ll spend time finding out more about your trauma and developing tools to cope with triggers in your daily life. You’ll also talk about the trauma itself while you simultaneously focus on an external stimulus (like tapping, eye movements, or buzzers). The goal is to activate both parts of your brain at once so that they can process information together, instead of separately, as they usually do. It may take several sessions before the effects of EMDR are fully realized, and in some cases, additional therapy may be necessary—but if you’ve experienced trauma before, this technique can help reduce your symptoms and give back control over how that experience impacts your life.
Can I Do EDMR Virtually in Ontario?
Our EMDR therapists are happy to offer in-person sessions at our offices in Toronto or London, ON, and online throughout the province of Ontario. Online EMDR is just as effective as in-person sessions. Our practitioners are trained to treat all kinds of trauma and take the same safety & privacy measures whether working with a patient online or in person.
Virtual therapy is a convenient option for patients looking for a practitioner that specializes in particular forms of therapy, like EMDR. If you’re particularly interested in trying this form of therapy, and you’re in London, Toronto, or the province of Ontario, send us a message now to get started.