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EMDR: Healing Through the Eyes

Discover how EMDR Therapy can help you overcome traumatic memories and emotional distress. Learn about its process, effectiveness, and how it can improve your life.

Overcome Trauma with EMDR Therapy

Are traumatic memories or emotional distress holding you back from your potential in life?  Is it getting in the way of your success at work, your relationships, and overall sense of happiness in life? If so, you can find relief in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR therapy), a psychotherapy approach designed to help individuals process and heal from traumatic or distressing experiences.

Healing through therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, was a therapy approach developed to help individuals process and heal from traumatic or distressing experiences. It is particularly effective with the most severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and other emotional difficulties you may be having. 

EMDR therapy involves side to side eye movements, hand taps, or auditory cues, to facilitate the processing of your distressing memories within your brain’s neural pathways.

Sounds odd, right? How can moving your eyes a few millimeters or tapping your shoulders get rid of PTSD or emotional distress? Despite only becoming popular in the mainstream mental health industry recently, this method was originally created in the 1980’s by Francine Shapiro.  It was developed almost by accident and was fairly controversial for a long time.  Now, it’s used worldwide as a core treatment for trauma.

There are 8 steps involved in EMDR therapy. Here are the main components you will go through:

EMDRHistory-taking and treatment planning: 

History-taking and treatment planning are foundational steps in the process of EMDR therapy. During the history-taking phase, the therapist will seek to develop a comprehensive understanding of your background, including your personal history, past experiences, and current challenges. 

This may involve exploring your childhood experiences, significant life events, any traumatic incidents that may have occurred, and much more. By gaining insight into your history, your EMDR therapist can begin to identify patterns of behaviour, thoughts, and emotions that may be contributing to your current difficulties. This step may not take as long if you are coming into treatment with one or two specific things you are looking to process (ie: a car accident, etc.).


Desensitization is another component of EMDR therapy. During this phase, you focus on a specific traumatic memory while simultaneously engaging in bilateral stimulation (moving eyes from one side to the other). This creates an impact in the brain that helps to neutralize negative memories.  This can mean following your therapist’s fingers moving back and forth, doing hand taps on opposite shoulders, or following auditory cues. At times your therapist may use a light bar that moves back and forth. All of these forms of bilateral stimulation can take place in-person, or virtually.  The goal of this phase is to facilitate the processing of your traumatic memory and reduce its’ emotional impact through the brain.


Installation is a phase where new positive beliefs or self-statements are introduced to you, and strengthened. This replaces negative beliefs associated with your traumatic memory and helps you develop a more positive and adaptive outlook on the experience.

Body Scan

The key component body scan is another key aspect of EMDR therapy. During this phase, you check for any physical tension or discomfort and process it during the session. This can help release physical manifestations of emotional distress and also promote relaxation.


Closure is the final phase of an EMDR therapy session. It involves a debrief with your therapist and the use of relaxation techniques to ensure you are in a stable emotional state before ending the session.


Reevaluation occurs in subsequent sessions with your EMDR therapist. You and your therapist assess progress and address any remaining issues or targets for your treatment.

EMDR is based on the idea that trauma can become “stuck” in your memory network, leading to emotional distress and symptoms. The bilateral stimulation used in EMDR therapy is thought to help reprocess and integrate these traumatic memories into your overall memory network, reducing the emotional charge associated with them.

EMDR therapy offers a path to clearness if you are struggling with traumatic memories and emotional distress. By reprocessing these memories and integrating more positive beliefs, you can find healing and relief from your symptoms. If you or someone you know is dealing with trauma, consider exploring EMDR therapy as a treatment option.

It’s important to note that while EMDR has been found to be effective in many cases, it may not be suitable for everyone. It should be administered by a trained and qualified therapist who can tailor the approach to an individual’s specific needs and experiences. 

If you’re interested in exploring EMDR therapy further, consider reaching out to us and booking a FREE consultation with one of our experienced EMDR therapists. They can provide you with more information and support in determining if EMDR is the right approach for you. 

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