Frequently Asked Questions

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What is EMDR therapy?

EMDR stands for Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR therapy has a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches. To learn more, visit the About EMDR page here.

What is bilateral stimulation?

Bilateral stimulation is a stimulus that occurs in a rhythmic left-right pattern. This can be done with a visual, auditory or tactile stimulus. This left-right pattern engages both hemispheres of the brain to best ensure that both the rational brain (what we use to talk and problem solve) and the emotional brain (what we use to feel and imagine) are working together, communicating and integrating. The EMDR-based group intervention protocols uses the Butterfly Hug as bilateral stimulation. This allows the participant to control the stimuli themselves by tapping the front of their shoulders back and forth for as long as they would like as fast or slow as they would like, which allows for self-regulation and grounding while processing.

What is the history and development of EMDR therapy?

In 1987, Francine Shapiro was walking in the park when she realized that eye movements appeared to decrease the negative emotion associated with her own distressing memories1,2. She assumed that eye movements had a desensitizing effect, and when she experimented with this she found that others also had the same response to eye movements. It became apparent however that eye movements by themselves did not create comprehensive therapeutic effects and so Shapiro added other treatment elements, including a cognitive component, and developed a standard procedure that she called Eye Movement Desensitization (EMD). To read more details about the story, visit the EMDR website here.

What is EMDR therapy used to treat?

EMDR therapy can be utilized to treat a variety of symptoms related to stress and/or traumatic events. Treatment has been implicated in the aftermath of natural disasters, man-made disasters, and has also been used in treating individuals with a history of abuse, chronic illness such a cancer, PTSD, to reprocess a stressful life event such as divorce or the death of a loved one and more.

With which populations can EMDR therapy be utilized?

EMDR therapy can be used in treatment across the lifespan, across demongraphics, and is generally culturally compatitible. The EMDR-based group interventions are designed for adults, adolescents and for children over the age of seven. Unlike more traditional forms of therapeutic intervention, EMDR-based group interventions do not require verbal disclosure of your distressing incident, making it more acceptible and less stigmatized a variety of cultures.

How many sessions of EMDR therapy are needed to be effective?

The number of sessions needed to be effective is dependent on the individual and the traumatic experience they are reprocessing. With children and adults reprocessing a recent trauma, it may take less sessions as compared to someone suffering from a past or chronic trauma.

What is a SUD scale?

SUD stands for Subjective Unit of Distress. This scale measures an individual's personal level of distress in a moment. The scale is rated from 0-10 - 0 being no distress at all and 10 being the most distress that you can imagine. Participants in the EMDR-based group interventions will write their personal SUD level on paper or will indicate the number using their hands/fingers. The SUD level is rated multiple times throughout the EMDR therapy group protocols. This is beneficial for both the participant (to see their progress) and the support team (to ensure safety).

What is the purpose of art therapy within EMDR-based group interventions EMDR therapy in a group setting?

The art therapy is used to help the participants express what they are feeling without having to share it specifically with the rest of the group. Art therapy can be an effective way for people to process their emotions in a group setting without having the pressure of speaking out loud about their personal, traumatic or distressing experiences.

How do I know if EMDR individual therapy or EMDR-based group interventions is best for me?

This is highly dependent on personal preference and financial need. Individual EMDR therapy may require a greater degree of self-disclosure and discussion with your EMDR therapist. Whereas expression in a EMDR-based group is conducted through the art therapy component rather than verbally. EMDR-based group interventions requires less from participants financially, often being done in a retreat/workshop setting rather than individual appointments.

Can EMDR therapy be utilized with children and adolescents?

Yes, there are numerous studies that show postive results in treating young children and adolescents impacted by a variety of different traumas with both individual EMDR therapy. sessions and EMDR-based group interventions The particular EMDR therapy procedure used is dependent on the age of participants, and in treating very young children some aspects of play therapy may be implicated to allow for greater exploration of the trauma. To learn more about research conducted with various population, please visit our Research page of the website here.

What does the Butterfly Hug look like?