EMDR therapy in Surrey, BC
You're feeling stuck. There's a certain memory that keeps playing in your mind on repeat, and you just want it to stop. Or maybe there's a circumstance that happened in your life that brought up a whole lot of emotions, and every time you think about it now, that same intensity comes back.
If this is you, then Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) may be for you.
EMDR is a therapy that was created as a way of processing painful and recurring traumatic memories that won't go away. These memories can cause you to feel like you are living with both emotional and physical pain.
EMDR processing is based on the fact that you have two areas in your brain that process incoming information in very different ways. When you experience a traumatic event, you most likely react by flight, fight or freeze which can result in the that event becoming "stuck" in your memory. I really appreciate this tool because it combines grounding tools with a practical understanding of how your past experience is affecting your present life. It then comes from the perspective that you have a negative belief about yourself as a result of that experience, along with the emotions that come up when you think about it, and the physical reaction your body has. The process allows the brain to lower the intensity of the emotional and physical reaction to those memories so that you are able to then process the situation and find healing from it.
how would EMDR help me?
EMDR can help you live a life without the recurring painful thoughts and memories. It can help you look back on an event in your life that shook your world and observe it as opposed to being overwhelmed by it. It can save you time and money! Research has found that people can experience the benefits of what once took psychotherapy years to make a difference in a much shorter time.
So what are some of the issues that others have found success with in EMDR?
complicated grief such as death of a loved one
motor vehicle accidents
post traumatic stress disorder
what does an EMDR session look like?
When you begin processing difficult memories, it can feel like you open up a wound that has been closed for a while. A typical EMDR session lasts between 50 and 75 minutes to allow for some time after the therapy to relax and de-brief. You may feel like you've been to the gym and worked out for that amount of time. I will provide you with some relaxation tools that will help you to leave with a feeling of being in control and empowered.
Once you have those tools in place, then I guide you through a process of what is called float backs. This is where you let your brain identify what memories come up that it’s linked with the combination of your negative belief about yourself, emotions and physical reaction. You will then identify the first, worst and most recent situation for us to work on together.
We then start with your earliest memory. I will sit across from you, and do the hand movements. Your eyes follow my hand, and while you aren’t speaking during the hand movement, I will stop every now and then and check in with you. The goal of EMDR is to bring the level of disturbance associated with that memory down so that it is not longer disturbing. It doesn’t take away the memory, but it neutralizes your reaction to it.
As we near the end of our session, we will take some time to use those relaxation tools mentioned above before you leave the office.
how long does EMDR take?
That answer depends on you! The length of treatment depends on how much previous trauma you have experienced; what your current life circumstances are; what your support system is like; and how strong you feel internally. One or more sessions are necessary to compile a clinical history and an understanding of what brings you to therapy, set up the targets, and then we can start digging in! It typically takes between 4-6 sessions for each original situation you are wanting to work on. There are times when we may decide that EMDR is not the best fit for you, and then talk about what approach works best to help you reach your goals for therapy.
If you are interested in seeing if this is the right fit for you and your goals for therapy, book your free 15-minute phone consultation by clicking the button below.