Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR in Ladner

We are pleased to provide EMDR services local to Tsawwassen, Ladner, Delta, Surrey, and Richmond at our office located in Ladner, BC. We have a team of counsellors trained in EMDR that work with individuals, children, adolescents, couples, and families and are able to use this powerful therapy to help clients recover from traumatic experiences and other mental health difficulties.

What is EMDR Therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of psychotherapy where the client is guided to briefly focus on aspects of a difficult or traumatic memory while receiving bilateral stimulation (guided eye movements, tapping, or tones). The result is a reduction in the vividness and emotional reaction to the traumatic memory. Because traumatic or difficult life events often set off a long-term cascade of symptoms and attempts to cope, EMDR therapy relieves symptoms in the present that are rooted in the past, by targeting and processing the root of the problem.

EMDR is a well-studied therapy, with documented success in treating the following conditions:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic disorder
  • Social Anxiety
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  • Eating Disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Phobias
  • Addiction and Substance Abuse
  • Impacts from sexual assault or abuse
  • And more…

Whether what you’re struggling with is is ambiguous or specific, EMDR can be a helpful tool to help you process your experiences.


Frequently Asked Questions About EMDR Therapy


What sets EMDR therapy apart from other therapies?

EMDR therapy is unique because it doesn’t require the client to talk in detail about the traumatic event/memory or to complete homework. This can be a relief for those who have difficulty speaking about highly distressing life events. Instead, EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation to improve communication between different regions of the brain, which allows the brain to resume its natural way of healing.

EMDR is especially helpful when something you experience just feels stuck. You know something logically but the emotional reaction or behaviour in the moment is not listening to the “logic.” This is a good indication that something in the emotional part of the brain needs processing so that your whole brain can work cohesively.

What counts as “trauma”? Can I benefit from EMDR if I don’t have any trauma?

Traumatic events can be defined as any life experience that elicits a stress response which overwhelms the brain’s normal processing capacities. As a result, the memory is stored as “implicit memory” which means that even though the event has passed, we continue to experience emotions, thoughts, and sensations that originate from the time the memory happened. When the memory is processed (through interventions such as EMDR therapy), it is then stored as “autobiographical memory” which means the memory becomes part of your story but the emotions, thoughts, or sensations from it are now distant and no longer intrude on your daily living.

So, even if you haven’t experienced an obvious “trauma” in the way we often think of it, just about everyone has experienced a stress response that the brain cannot process at the time it happens and so most people can benefit from EMDR.

What can I expect in an EMDR session?

EMDR is a progressive therapy, this means that the first session will likely look very different from later sessions.

EMDR Early phases

During these initial sessions, your counsellor’s focus will be on understanding what you’re wanting help with and collaboratively creating an EMDR treatment plan with you. You will likely be asked to fill out some assessment questionnaires to better understand your symptoms, and your therapist will likely ask about your history and current concerns.

EMDR focuses on getting to the root of the problem, this means that an EMDR therapist will be continually drawing connections between your current symptoms or difficulties and past experiences that may be at the root of your current difficulties. From there, your therapist will recommend a treatment plan for which memories to target and process.

Additionally, your therapist will likely offer coping and grounding strategies during these early phases. They may also use bilateral stimulation to augment any positive associations in your brain which will help prepare your brain to process the difficult stuff.

EMDR mid-phases

Once you and your therapist have decided on which symptoms and memories to target with EMDR therapy, your therapist will guide you to process these memories. You will be invited to focus on various aspects of the memories for short intervals of time while receiving bilateral stimulation. As these sessions progress, you will likely notice that difficult experiences associated with the target memory begin to reduce and will have less and less impact on your everyday life. You will also begin to understand these events differently with new perspective.

EMDR final phases

Once you have processed all of the difficult memories associated with your symptoms, your therapist will guide you to process any remaining difficult symptoms that you experience in the present, as well as any fears for the future.

This is also often a good time to talk through the changes you’ve experienced as well as your new perspective on your life story.

Can I benefit from EMDR if struggle with dissociation or if I have complex-PTSD?

The short answer is yes you absolutely can! The long answer is that if you have a suspected dissociative disorder or complex-PTSD, it likely means your therapist will use modified EMDR techniques to help you. We have many EMDR therapists on our team with the advanced training necessary to help clients with complex trauma-related conditions such as these.

EMDR Services Offered at Alongside You

Individual EMDR Therapy

We have many Registered Clinical Counsellors who are trained in EMDR therapy. We can work with individuals or couples to use this powerful therapy to help clients process their experiences. Contact us for more information to book with these therapists.

EMDR Consultation for Clinicians

Marcia Moitoso is a Certified EMDR therapist and a consultant-in-training. She partners with the EMDR Centre of Canada, and is approved by EMDRIA to provide individual and group consultation toward EMDR certification.



If you are interested in working together, take the first step today by sending us an email or giving us a call!
We will get back to you as soon as we can.