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What is EMDR?

Fresh Hope Counselling is pleased to offer EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing)

Beth Murray, Sherri Farbin, Cathy Murray, Cheryl Dirks, Annika Schaefer and Bea Clair have completed their formal training as EMDR Therapists. Beth Murray has been using EMDR since 2008. 

To date, EMDR has helped an estimated two million people relieve many types of psychological distress. EMDR is a scientifically based therapy that has to do with brain process and how the brain stores memory. For many people it is the missing piece of the puzzle for making progress in therapy. EMDR seems to have a direct effect on how the brain processes information. The name is rather deceptive in that the only thing it has to do with the eyes is that the eyes seem to mimic what happens during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep or dreaming.

EMDR has proven to be effective in working with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and decreasing or eliminating the symptoms for the majority of clients. It has been used in critical incident debriefing, such as bank robberies, hurricane Katrina and disasters such as 9-11. The process works to neutralize the distress related to the incident; a person will retain memory of the event without having the distress or upset. Clients have also reported relief from related symptoms such as anxiety and recovering from a motor vehicle accident (MVA).

What Kinds of Problems is EMDR Most Effective For?

  • eating disorders
  • trauma reactions following motor vehicle accidents
  • panic attacks/disorders
  • performance anxiety/test anxiety
  • disturbing or intrusive memories
  • stress reduction
  • various substance/process dependency issues
  • sexual and/or physical abuse
  • body dysmorphic disorder
  • phobias
  • trauma/PTSD
  • pain disorders
  • complicated grief

EMDR has proven to be the key to unlocking stuck points for many people.

As moments become “frozen in time” during a traumatic experience or rutted thoughts, the brain does not process normally.  Memory gets split into pieces and the issue does not get resolved.  In a way, EMDR is similar to a computer “de-fragmenting.”  The brain wants the person to be at peace and not be stuck in destructive or disturbing patterns or behaviour or thoughts.  This is done through a process of “bi-lateral stimulations” of the brain using tapping, eye movements, sounds or pulsars.  The process does not alter any sense of reality and is not like hypnosis or any other form of altered state.


ART — Accelerated Resolution Therapy works directly to reprogram the way distressing memories and images are stored in the brain. Beth Murray and Annika Schaefer are trained in ART and find it very helpful for use with trauma, PTSD, Phobias, Depression, Anxiety, Grief and Addiction.

So what’s the difference between EMDR and ART? Although similar, they work differently and both are proven effective. EMDR is more thought driven and ART is more focused on somatic and emotional aspects. If you are interested in ART, a brief consult with Beth or Annika can help decide if ART is right for you.

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