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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy is an innovative and powerful psychotherapeutic approach that can help you work through difficult experiences, memories, and feelings and meet your goals for psychotherapy. EMDR therapy is designed to help you break through the emotional blocks that are keeping you from living an effective and emotionally healthy life. EMDR therapy is predicated on the belief that past emotionally-charged experiences can have a significant negative impact on present emotions, sensations, thoughts, and challenge This approach will help you work through and process trauma-related experiences to help you live a vibrant future with freedom from past history.

Help for trauma and more

EMDR was initially developed as a treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) over 30 years ago. Since that time, the approach has been used for a wide variety of mental health issues including anger, anxiety, and depression. While EMDR is often considered a trauma-focused approach, it is important to understand what trauma means in the context of EMDR.

EMDR is designed to help people heal from "big T" traumas - including assault, natural disasters, accidents, and other events typically associated with PTSD - as well as "small t" traumas, which refers to situations and events that have occurred in our lives that are not necessarily considered traumatic in the clinical sense, but that have nonetheless left us with limiting beliefs about ourselves, our abilities, and our self-worth. All of us carry some degree of these small t traumas; EMDR can help you process these experiences so that they lose their negative emotional charge and their ability to impede you from living the life you want to. 

An effective, evidence-based approach

EMDR is well-established as being an effective treatment for a wide variety of mental health issues including anger, anxiety, depression, and panic attacks and is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as being one of two gold-standard approaches for treating trauma.

The EMDR Process

EMDR can be used as a structured protocol as the primary psychotherapeutic treatment used or integrated into therapy as one of a number of interventions used to help you meet your goals. In either case, EMDR typically proceeds with the following structure: preparation, processing, and reintegration.


Typically, EMDR work will start with a focus on helping you learn skills that you can use on an ongoing-basis to help with whatever issues you are struggling with. For example, if you are experiencing challenges with anxiety, part of the initial work will be to develop effective anxiety-coping skills that you can use outside of our sessions. During this phase, your therapist will also help you learn effective ways to regulate strong emotions and be able to access feelings of calm and safety on an ongoing-basis.


Processing is what most people think of when they think of EMDR. During this phase of psychotherapy, you and your therapist will actively begin work on processing difficult experiences that you have had. Based on information you have provided your therapist and your feedback we will collaboratively develop a focus for EMDR processing.

It is important to note that you stay in control of what is talked about and the general session focus. You don't necessarily need to talk about all aspects of your childhood or every difficult experience that you've had! Rather, sessions are focused on the concerns and issues that you are seeking help with.

During processing sessions, your therapist will ask you to focus on memories or situations related to your concerns and use a variety of innovative methods to help you gain resolution and insight into events, and desensitize the stress reaction that accompanies the memory of these events. Guided eye movements is one standard method your therapist may use in this phase, or your therapist may use other techniques based on your preferences and response to treatment.



With the difficulties posed by anxiety, anger, depression, and trauma, it can be easy to forget about the business of living! The third focus of EMDR work is helping you take the skills, tools, and insights you've gained in psychotherapy and bringing them into everyday life. Ultimately psychotherapy is about helping you reconnect with what matters, increasing your engagement in everyday activity, and pursuing your goals, dreams, and the life you want to live. With freedom from emotional struggles, what do you want your life to be about? In this aspect of EMDR work, your therapist will help you figure that out and with you will co-develop plans, skills, and roadmaps for getting there.

Take the next step

EMDR therapy has helped thousands of people around the world experience emotional healing and relief from trauma, anger, anxiety, and other mental health issues. If you would like to experience EMDR therapy for yourself, book a session with one of our therapists by clicking the button below. We offer in-person sessions in Toronto and remote sessions for anyone in Ontario.


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