Learn How EMDR Can Help with Trauma

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

You’ve likely heard about the healing benefits of sleep. Among them, is the ability to reorganize and consolidate memories( in fact, lack of sleep can contribute to memory loss). This process occurs during the dream phase known as Rapid Eye Movement (REM). When we experience a highly traumatic event, our brain’s neural networks can get overwhelmed and the event can get ‘stuck’ in the nervous system. Later, when we remember the event , our mind and body can react as if it’s happening  for the first time. 

In the case of trauma, any feelings or images of the event in our mind can be left unprocessed —  and therefore unchanged. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a powerful psychological treatment that uses bilateral stimulation (commonly seen during the REM phase) to alleviate the symptoms associated with trauma. It can be a valuable tool in the management of:




Panic Attacks




Dissociative Disorders


Body Dysmorphia


Eating Disorders


Sexual or Physical Abuse


Performance Anxiety


Complicated Grief


Stress Reduction


Disturbing Memories




Pain Disorders


Personality Disorders

EMDR Treatment & Sessions

Developed by psychologist and educator Francine Shapiro, EMDR has been used for over 30 years in a variety of settings. Scientific research supports it as an effective treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), however, it can treat many kinds of psychological distress.

During EMDR therapy, the therapist works with the client to identify a specific issue or event that is particularly unsettling. The client is then asked to bring it to mind, and notice what images, emotions, thoughts, and feelings arise.

The therapist begins the process of bilateral stimulation, which is done in sets through the session with guided pauses and reflection at different intervals. This is done through left/right eye movements, side-to-side hand tapping, listening to left/right sounds in headphones, or holding a device that alternates left/right tapping. During the session, the recipient is completely awake and in control at all times.

Following EMDR treatment, the individual can still recall the incident, but no longer relives the trauma at the same level of intensity. Often, clients find that associated memories are re-processed and healed at the same time.

Working with an EMDR Therapist

Typically, EMDR occurs over a series of sessions with a specially trained therapist. You should ensure your therapist has received training through an EMDRIA approved EMDR program.Typically, each session is 60 to 90 minutes long. The number of recommended sessions may vary, depending on the source of trauma and the client’s needs. At Bhatia Psychology Group, we offer these services by a trained EMDR therapist.

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Richmond Hill

Online, Phone & In-Person Sessions

(905) 508-1130


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FAQs – EMDR Therapy

Will EMDR work for me?

EMDR has shown to be very effective in treating PTSD as well as other forms of trauma. It’s also shown to have success with a variety of mental health challenges, such as anxiety, depression, and panic disorders. If you are struggling with any of these or wish to overcome past trauma, EMDR may be a good therapy option for you.

What are the phases of EMDR?

There are eight phases to EMDR therapy that your EMDR-trained therapist will follow. These include: 

  1. Initial history and treatment planning 
  2. Preparation
  3. Assessment
  4. Desensitization
  5. Installation
  6. Body scan
  7. Closure
  8. Reevaluation
Does EMDR therapy cure PTSD?

Research shows that EMDR has a  77% success rate for those with PTSD. However, it’s important to note that some individuals will require other forms of therapy alongside EMDR to fully overcome PTSD.

What does an EMDR session feel like?

EMDR stimulates both of your brain hemispheres. Some individuals report this feeling as a vibration in their abdomen or chest. Meanwhile, others may feel temporarily lightheaded or tired after a session. Many feel lighter as if something they have been holding onto is lifted off their chest. All sensations will pass, and your therapist will ensure you are completely grounded prior to ending the session. 

Can EMDR make you feel worse?

In some cases, you may feel worse before you get better. It is not a result of EMDR itself but can happen in any form of therapy because you are addressing issues that may initially be uncomfortable. It is all part of the healing journey; your therapist will guide you through every step. 

Why should you choose EMDR?

There are a few reasons why EMDR may be an ideal treatment, depending on the individual’s circumstance and trauma history. 

First, EMDR has similar results to other therapies, yet it can take place over a shorter duration. However, the anticipated number of sessions largely depends on the history of the individual.  

 Second, it’s one of the proven therapies when it comes to treating PTSD. 

Third, many individuals find they tolerate EMDR much better than exposure therapy or related options. It also doesn’t require you to talk about your trauma in great detail, which can be very distressing for the individual.

Are the results of EMDR long-lasting?

Yes, EMDR has the ability to permanently decrease distressing feelings and thoughts associated with traumatic events. That said, it is one component of a treatment plan. Depending on your circumstances and needs, your therapist may follow up your EMDR therapy with mindfulness or cognitive behavioral therapy to support long-term healing. 

How long does EMDR therapy take to work?

The number of sessions you will need largely depends on your history and circumstances. However, for processing one specific memory, it may take as little as one to three sessions. Typically, most individuals see noticeable improvements after 6 to 12 sessions.

Is EMDR therapy safe?

EMDR is considered a very safe therapy. It has fewer side effects than commonly used prescribed medication. The most common side effect from EMDR includes light-headedness, due to increased awareness after a session.

Why does EMDR work so well?

EMDR can feel less distressing than traditional talk therapy because your attention is simultaneously diverted toward bilateral stimulation (your right/left eye movements). This allows you to relive your experience in small and brief doses, which prevents the nervous system from becoming overwhelmed.

How do I find an EMDR therapist?

At Bhatia Psychology Group in Richmond Hill, Ontario (and virtually across Ontario) we have trained EMDR therapists ready to support you Contact us to book your appointment today.

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Richmond Hill

9640 Bayview Ave #4
Richmond Hill, ON
L4C 9P7


105-11500 29th Street SE
Calgary, Alberta
T2Z 3W9

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