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Upsetting, overwhelming, dangerous experiences can change your life instantly.
As a result, you may experience trauma response...

Heal Your Past & Live More Happily in the Present....

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy

Wooden letters EMDR written on blue background. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocess

EMDR is a therapy that can help you recover from upsetting events and the challenges that they have caused, like flashbacks, unhealthy relationships, upsetting thoughts or images, nightmares, depression, panic or anxiety. Rest assured that fear, anxiety and depression don't have to run your life, dictate your decisions or create your future. 

The magic of EMDR Therapy is that your brain already knows what has taken place-both the good and the bad. You don't have to retell your story in great detail, as you would in traditional talk therapy, because your brain holds this information in a fragmented, maladaptive way and has the ability to heal. Simply put, your brain is the agent of change in EMDR. During your therapy sessions, you will simultaneously pay attention to both a distressing memory and external bilateral stimulation (BLS). This dual awareness allows you to maintain a connection with the present moment while accessing and reprocessing difficult memories, emotions or body sensations when you are calm and rational. By maintaining this dual focus, EMDR helps to desensitize you to the distress associated with memories and enables the integration of new, more adaptive information. Your brain can heal as well as your physical body can after it has been injured.


Studies using neuroimaging techniques have shown alterations in brain activity and connectivity following EMDR treatment, including changes in regions such as the hippocampus (memory), the amygdala (danger centre) and the prefrontal cortex (where information processing occurs). These changes are thought to reflect the reorganization and integration of traumatic memories and the associated thoughts, emotional responses and body sensations. Overall, the brain's natural capacity for processing information and adapting to new experiences plays an integral role in the effectiveness of EMDR. By harnessing these innate mechanisms, EMDR aims to facilitate healing and promote resilience in clients that have experienced trauma or other upsetting, overwhelming events.

EMDR is best know for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and it has also been proven effective for a range of mental health conditions in people of all ages. Read frequently asked questions or watch an introductory video featured on our webpage to learn more about how EMDR can help you.  

At Mental Blocks, several of our therapists experienced EMDR Therapy themselves and continue to acheive personal and professional goals successfully. Thus, we sincerely endorse this as an effective technique as we utilize a strength-based, client centred approach to the counselling process, incorporating direction from you. To do this successfully, we integrate EMDR Therapy with several therapeutic approaches including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness and Solution Focused, etc. as we support your needs and goals. We also teach simple strategies to help you stay present so you can manage life more effectively. We have worked with culturally diverse populations in a variety of settings to support clients with concerns related to depression, anxiety, trauma, substance abuse, relationships and other life challenges. The ultimate goal is to help you resolve challenges and lead you to a more fulfilling life.

What is EMDR?

EMDR is a therapy approach that was developed by Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s. EMDR was primarily used for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but it has also been found effective for depression, anxiety, panic. EMDR Therapy will help you reinterpret upsetting memories by using bilateral stimulation (BLS), which typically involves your therapist guiding your eye movements while you recall your traumatic experience. However, other forms of BLS, such as tactile buzzers, tapping or auditory, are also used effectively. The type of BLS used for your therapy will be based on what your therapist has available and your preference. You can learn more about the forms of BLS here.

If you believe you have been exposed to a traumatizing experience or experiences, we welcome you to schedule a complimentary consultation. We are grateful and feel reassured as we deliver EMDR Therapy because research has proven the efficacy of EMDR as an effective trauma treatment. We are happy to offer this treatment and would be as grateful to work collaboratively with you.

What is Trauma & How Does it Effect Us 

childhood neglect, domestic violence, bullying can result in anxiety, depression fear panic addiction relationship difficulty

Trauma refers to a deeply distressing experience that overwhelms an individual's ability to cope. It can be a single event or a series of events that pose a threat to a person's well-being. What may be traumatic for one person might not be for someone else and different people may respond to similar events in different ways.

Trauma is something that may happen so quickly and suddenly that you may not realize what has happened. As a result, you may not realize until something small happens and you overreact, self-sabotage or avoid. Trauma can be like that box of stuff that we hide away, always meaning to deal with it, but we put it off and then something touches that box and suddenly, you become reactive and there is an overwhelming mess. As a result, this can lead to guilt, shame, embarrassment, relationship loss, substance use, overeating, isolation, fear, panic, etc. EMDR therapy will help you get these boxes out of the way and offer you peace, happiness, calm and freedom. 

Is EMDR Therapy Effective?

Research shows that EMDR has proven to be an effective trauma treatment. If you have been exposed to a traumatizing experience, and you are experiencing some or many of the symptoms listed below, we welcome you to contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Trauma responses can include:

  • feeling constant anxiety, worry, fear 

  • constantly feeling jumpy, afraid, walking on eggshells or on the lookout

  • having trouble focusing

  • avoiding family or friends

  • experiencing conflict in your relationships

  • engaging in risky behaviours

  • losing interest in things you used to enjoy

  • experiencing changes in eating habits

  • overreacting to minor things

  • having difficulty falling or staying asleep

  • irritable or experiencing low mood

  • experiencing flashbacks, intrusive thoughts or nightmares

  • experiencing memory difficulties

  • feeling unsafe even you know it is safe

  • ruminating

  • feeling 'frozen' or 'helpless'

  • using increased substances

"I often say that I sound like a person selling used cars as I speak about EMDR Therapy, as it is a unique approach and very different from traditional talk therapy, but I honestly believe that EMDR is effective as I have lived it and witnessed it with many clients."                                                              

Sally-Anne Haug

Childhood Trauma

Some children are resilient and recover quickly with support after living through something overwhelming. Others may display symptoms of trauma immediately, or symptoms that worsen with time. Others, may seem to recover, but trauma can leave 'hooks' in their psyche that appear years later. While some victims of childhood trauma may abuse drugs and alcohol as a way to cope, others do 'just fine' until their own children reach the age that they were traumatized themselves. Childhood trauma may lead to repeated failed adult relationships, workplace difficulties, depression, anxiety, isolation, gambling, over-eating, physical health issues, shutting down, anger, addictions, etc...

Image depicting childhood neglect conceptually, emphasizing the impact of adverse experiences on a child's mental health

Types of Childhood Trauma

Image illustrating effects of childhood bullying, psychological impact and consequences on mental well-being
  • being bullied

  • sexual / physical / emotional /psychological abuse

  • poverty

  • homelessness

  • abandonment-family breakdown, being in care or adoption

  • accidents or injury (e.g. car accident/house fire)

  • exposure to war

  • medical trauma (e.g. surgery, serious or chronic illness)

  • parental substance abuse

  • untreated/poorly managed parental mental health issues

  • parental neglect

  • witnessing parental conflict / domestic violence

  • death or loss of a family member or a pet

  • abuse due to race, orientation or religion

Adult Trauma

While some individuals are exposed to trauma on a daily basis (e.g. first responders), most adults experience trauma primarily due to accident or injury. For others, the threat of trauma due to troubled domestic relationships, addictions issues, or toxic work environments (e.g. harassment, bullying, work overload, etc.) are an ongoing concern. Whether the trauma is singular and abrupt such as a car accident, or ongoing, it may severely disrupt your life.

Trauma symptoms that occur in the month following the trauma exposure may be signs of Acute Stress Disorder. Trauma symptoms that continue or appear more than one month after the trauma exposure may be signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

a person feeling overwhelmed in social situations, the emotional and psychological challenges associated with anxiety

Click below to find the directions to our beautiful office in Victoria, BC at 1501 Haultain Street

Rice Fields

Seeking therapy is a brave decision. That first courageous step is the start of an exploration of how one's own mind works and adapts when under threat, often in an 'old' way that can be challenged and changed.

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