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EMDR Therapy Calgary: Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing

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Think of how it feels to recall a regular memory—like your first day of school or the route you take to work. These long-term memories are stored in our brains, and we can recall them without distress. 

But that isn’t true of traumatic memories. When something happens that causes us deep anxiety, stress, or terror, it gets stuck in our short-term memory. To protect us from danger, our minds stay on high alert. 

We perceive the incident as a constant threat, and it never fades away. Our brains keep the memory readily available to protect us if it happens again.

In essence, the wound never heals—the memory causes constant stress, and it can be triggered by anything from a new relationship to certain emotions. 

To understand these experiences, we tell ourselves stories about them. We create schemas. But the beliefs we form about what happened are often negative and self-deprecating. 

With EMDR therapy (or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), you can change the way you process and categorize traumatic memories. The therapy requires you to repeatedly recall the memory and alter the way you think about it. 

By the end, the long-held beliefs are stripped away so that recalling the incident no longer causes distress, and the memory can move into long-term storage. 

At One Life Counselling & Coaching, we offer EMDR therapy to bring you peace of mind. Here’s how it can change the way you process negative experiences:

What Is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR is a relatively newer therapy, first developed in 1987. Since then, many studies have shown that EMDR is effective at reducing the negative emotions associated with traumatic memories. EMDR therapy sounds bizarre at first—it’s a type of therapy where patients recall traumatic memories while simultaneously moving their eyes back and forth. People learn to reprocess and become desensitized to their trauma through exposure therapy, which is paired with eye movements.  While recalling a traumatic memory, your therapist will guide you in moving your eyes from left to right. This will be prompted by a tap on either knee, a finger moving from one side to the other, or a noise on either side of you. The idea is that you’re stimulating eye movement.  At the same time, you recall a memory that caused trauma. Your therapist will help you challenge the negative long-held beliefs that you have about the incident. For example:
  • It’s my fault. I could have done more to stop it.
  • I deserve what happened to me.
  • My life will never be the same again. 
By reprocessing the memory, you can change the way you think about it. This challenges your negative beliefs and reframes them more positively. The idea is that, after enough sessions, recalling the memory will no longer cause distress. You become desensitized to it through repeated exposure and reprocessing.   So, how do eye movements help you process trauma? There are a few theories. One is that these eye movements mimic what we do during REM sleep, a stage where your brain processes memories from the day. By moving your eyes as you recall the memory, you’re helping your brain reprocess it. It can also serve as a distraction from the disturbing imagery that the memory may bring up.

What Disorder Is EMDR Most Commonly Used To Treat?

It’s often used to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition where people experience ongoing flashbacks and anxiety after a traumatic event.

EMDR therapy can be helpful for anyone dealing with anxiety, stress, chronic pain, and/or addiction. If you’re battling a distressing memory, consider talking to your therapist about EMDR treatment.
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What Symptoms Does EMDR Help With?

The goal of EMDR is to make traumatic memories less distressing to recall. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may find relief with EMDR therapy:
    • Flashbacks and nightmares related to a traumatic event
    • Grief
    • Shame
    • Mental health issues such as depression or anxiety
    • Anger 
    • Regret
    • Guilt

Who Can Benefit From EMDR Therapy in Calgary?

Do you feel like your past is holding you back? If you find that negative memories are interfering with your life, consider trying EMDR. 

EMDR is beneficial for anyone who experiences distress from a traumatic memory. This includes those who have experienced sexual abuse, childhood trauma, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Don’t let the past bring you down and rob you of happiness any longer. With EMDR, you can rebuild your self-image and free yourself from the chains of the past. 
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Do You Have More Questions?

How long does EMDR therapy take to work?

EMDR is a type of short-term therapy. Many patients benefit from 6 sessions. Others require more or less time with it. During your initial consultation, your therapist can discuss the scope of your treatment.

Can EMDR therapy be harmful?

EMDR is a safe and effective treatment. Even so, it’s distressing for people to recall their traumatic memories. If your emotions become too overwhelming during your treatment, your therapist will help you calm down. This can be done through deep breathing, visualization techniques, and meditation.

Can EMDR therapy be done online?

Yes. If you’re more comfortable at home, your EMDR therapy session can be done entirely online.

Virtual or In-Person Counselling

It’s our goal to accommodate the needs of every person who seeks our services. That’s why we offer our treatments both remotely and in person. When you book an appointment, you can select whichever you prefer. We offer secure video counselling services that can fit into your busy schedule. 
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Call One Life Counselling & Coaching Today!

Take a moment to envision what your future could look like. A future where you aren’t constantly reminded of painful past experiences. One where you have a positive self-image and you’re making progress every day.

That’s the freedom that EMDR treatment can provide. If you’re ready to book your initial consultation, we’re here for you. At One Life Counselling & Coaching, we’re open 7 days a week. Yes, that includes evenings and weekends!
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