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EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing


The mind has a natural way of healing, just like the body does when it gets injured. This healing process is achieved through Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. In 1987, Francine Shapiro developed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which mimics the healing process of REM sleep while the person is still awake. EMDR has gained popularity in the field of mental health due to its effectiveness in treating various mental health issues such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, grief, and negative belief systems. Rigorous research has provided a mountain of evidence to support its effectiveness.

The mind is constantly working to manage, process, and store experiences adequately in the brain. However, when someone experiences something unusual or is repeatedly exposed to a stressor, the brain may struggle to process and store the information correctly. This can overload the natural coping mechanisms, leaving the experience unprocessed and frozen in the brain. As a result, the part of the brain responsible for controlling the fight, flight or freeze response (the limbic system) is activated. This part of the brain houses our most complex emotions, such as anger and love.
The traumatic memory remains in a raw and emotionally suspended state and can be easily triggered by experiences that are similar to the trauma. The memory may fade as time passes, but the emotional distress associated with it does not disappear. This mental unrest can make it challenging to think, process information, live in the present moment, and learn from new experiences.

During the EMDR process, you will be asked questions about a specific disturbing memory. Using a light bar, you will track the light by moving your eyes, much like in REM sleep. This process is known as bilateral stimulation. Trauma can cause the limbic system to be hijacked by the right hemisphere, leading to the left hemisphere's inability to self-soothe. Bilateral stimulation activates both hemispheres, bypassing the traumatized right hemisphere and allowing for processing of the experience with the help of the left hemisphere. After following the light, you will be asked to report your experience. Clients often report changes in thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations.
Repeating the eye movements leads to peaceful resolution, which is the desensitization phase of EMDR. With the therapist's help as a guide, the perception of the experience can change, allowing the experience to be stored appropriately in the cerebral cortex, which is the reprocessing phase of EMDR. The limbic system is soothed, and the memory becomes just a memory without the intense emotional sensations and somatic (body) reactions. Essentially, the memory is neutralized, and its painful intensity is lost. Other associated memories may heal simultaneously while the memory is reprocessed.
Resources are available before the light tracking begins to help calm you if you feel overwhelmed during the process. We can stop and use these resources and start again when you feel ready. You are in charge of the process, and it is encouraged to advocate for yourself.


  • High anxiety and lack of motivation

  • Depression

  • The emotional impact of memories of a traumatic experience

  • Fear of being alone

  • Unrealistic feelings of guilt and shame

  • Difficulty in trusting others

  • Difficulties in personal relationships​

  • Being more present and in your body

  • Anger that is associated with past memories or a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness

  • Being closed to communication and intimacy

  • Fear of connecting to emotions

  • Feelings of abandonment

  • Fear or anxiety about engaging in intimate relationships

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