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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR was developed as a treatment for PTSD and to help people experience less distress related to traumatic memories. EMDR is now being more widely used for a variety of concerns, and can be very effective for stressful experiences or upsetting memories. There are several phases to EMDR.


The first phase is the development of a plan which includes deciding which memories, experiences or fears will be worked on in treatment. 

The second phase involves developing resources that clients can use in session and practice outside of sessions to support stress reduction, emotion regulation, and self-soothing. Resources you may already have will be strengthened and new resources may be introduced. 

Phases 3-6 involve processing, integration, and reducing distress associated with memories or fears being worked on. This involves connecting with and further understanding harmful beliefs, distressing emotions, and uncomfortable body sensations associated with incidents or memories. In these stages, more adaptive beliefs are integrated, and people typically find their distress begins to subside. 

Phase 7 is debriefing the session, learning or practicing resourcing, and planning for resourcing between sessions.

Phase 8 begins in the next session with review, check-in on progress, and exploring if there are any new insights related to incidents of memories or fears that are being worked on.

I am a Calgary trauma therapist offering sessions in-person to those in Calgary and online to those in Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

Abstract Aerial View
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