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Trauma & Phobia Counseling & Psychotherapy  EMDR  Vaughan & Woodbridge

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing


What Is EMDR? 

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a therapeutic approach that enables people to heal from the symptoms of emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences such: childhood abuse and neglect, life threatening situations, and sexual abuse.


EMDR was primarily used in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Currently, it has found to be effective for the treatment of a wide range of psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, phobias, and low self-esteem.


What Happens in EMDR Sessions?

EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment. In phases 1 and 2, a detailed history intake will be completed during which target memories will be identified and discussed in session, and more importantly, clients will be provided with coping and stress reduction techniques the client can use during and between sessions. Phases 3-6 are used to process the disturbing memories using bilateral sensory stimulation — such as eye movements, gentle tapping or sounds. Phases 7, 8 are used for closure and revaluation of the therapeutic work.


How Long Are the Session?

EMDR lasts about 90 minutes per session. The type of problem, current life circumstances, and the complexity of the traumas will determine how many treatment sessions are necessary.

A full description of the theory and sequence of treatment, can be found here as well as at EMDR International Association (EMDRIA).

EMDR is endorsed by international health organizations and government regulatory bodies throughout the world including:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) (2013)

  • The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISSTS) (2000 & 2008)

  • American Psychiatric Association (APA) (2004 & 2009)

  • The US Dept of Defense/Veterans Affairs (2004) (Description from

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