Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)

What is Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)?

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Developed by Francine Shapiro

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a type of therapy that has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR therapy is based on the idea that our brains are constantly trying to process and make sense of the information we take in. Sometimes, however, we experience something so traumatizing that our brains get “stuck” in that moment and are unable to process and release the memory. EMDR therapy uses a variety of techniques, including eye movements, to help the brain process them in a healthy way.

How EMDR Therapy Works

During each EMDR session, you will work with your EMDR therapist to identify a specific memory or event that is causing you distress. Once that memory has been identified, you will begin a series of bilateral eye movements (or auditory/tactile stimuli) while focusing on the memory.

These bilateral eye movements help to stimulate both sides of your brain, which allows for the processing of information to take place more quickly. As you focus on the memory while doing these eye movements (or other stimuli), you may start to notice that the intensity of the emotions you are feeling start to lessen. You may also start to see the memory in a different light, or from a different perspective.

After each session, you will work with your EMDR therapist to process what you have experienced during the session. If you are struggling with symptoms of PTSD or other mental health issues related to trauma, EMDR therapy may be a good option for you.

We provide secure online and in-person EMDR therapy throughout Vancouver and BC. To request a 15-minute complimentary consultation with one of our EMDR therapists, please email info@lotustherapy.ca. You can book your first session here:

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Who can benefit from EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapists use EMDR therapy to address a wide range of challenges:

  • Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias
  • Chronic Illness and medical issues
  • Depression and bipolar disorders
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Grief and loss
  • Pain
  • Performance anxiety
  • Personality disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other trauma and stress-related issues
  • Sexual assault
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • Violence and abuse

Our experienced EMDR counsellors have advanced training in order to support clients with dissociative disorders, complex trauma, depression, chronic pain, and personality disorders.



van der Kolk, B. A. (2014). The body keeps the score: brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. New York: Viking.


“EMDR loosens up something in the mind/brain that gives people rapid access to loosely associated memories and images from their past. This seems to help them put the traumatic experience into a larger context or perspective.”

― Bessel van der Kolk