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Approach to Therapy

How we work with you depends on your needs as a client.  We provide stage-oriented, attachment-based, trauma therapy.

Stage One:

  • We help you build resources (stabilization & treating dissociation).
  • When you are ready, we do a detailed history of developmental trauma, including attachment breaks, neglect and experiential contributors as well as major traumas.

Stage Two

  • Now we focus on resolving the traumas, with a continued focus on treating dissociation.

Stage Three:

  • Finally, we work on rehabilitation and reintegration (i.e. getting used to the ‘new normal’).

We believe that trauma is something that has happened to you, not something that you are.  We use EMDR Therapy, dovetailed into each of our conceptual frameworks (that include MFT, CBT, Play Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Sensori-motor Therapy, & Energy Work, using the Theory of Structural Dissociation and Polyvagal Theory as foundational theories).

EMDR Therapy:

  • is internationally recognized as an effective & efficient therapy for the treatment of symptoms of stress & trauma
  • has been validated as a best-practice, evidence-based psychotherapy by (amongst many others) the World Health Organization (2013).

What is EMDR Therapy effective for?

  • PTSD symptoms like flashbacks, intrusions & panic attacks,  
  • anxiety, depression, over-reactive anger, phobias, irritability, worrying, disturbed sleep etc. – anything that leads you to think that you are “stressed out” or stuck,
  • anything that is trauma-related (including attachment breaks, experiential contributors & neglect as well as “T” traumas), and
  • EMDR Therapy is also widely used for Complex PTSD, DDNOS, DID and diagnosed Personality Disorders.

How does EMDR Therapy work?

  • EMDR mobilizes the brain’s own healing mechanisms.
  • As human beings, we are adaptable; we naturally move towards healing.  Just as the body naturally heals from a wound, so does the human spirit orient towards healing.  

When bad things happen, they happen first to the body, then the emotions kick in, and then the brain starts to reprocess them. We ‘sleep on it’, think about it, get support from friends & family, and after some time has passed, we still remember the negative experience, but no longer feel upset about it. You could probably think of some traumas in your life, still remembering them clearly, but now feel neutral about them. You have peace with those memories. This is an example of the brain working the way it should.

  • Sometimes, however, the reprocessing gets stuck (just like when dirt gets into a wound, blocking healing there). This is where EMDR Therapy comes in.
  • It desensitizes and reprocesses negative memories and issues so you can come to have peace with them. 
  • EMDR is an excellent way of releasing the pain from the past, to free up your resources for the present and future. 

In EMDR therapy, after a thorough preparation and assessment period, the reprocessing work begins:

  • You think precisely (images, thoughts, emotions & body sensations) about something that is upsetting to you – like a traumatic memory – and you follow the therapist’s hand waving back and forth in front of your eyes (or follow alternating auditory beeps or tactile pulses). This ‘back-and-forth’ or dual awareness stimulation reactivates the information processing system of the brain. The idea is that trauma, or difficult issues, sometimes get stuck in the brain, along with their emotional or even physical content. EMDR’s bilateral stimulation & protocols resolve them.
  • EMDR has been shown to be neurobiologically similar to what your brain is doing during REM sleep (the dreaming stage)

Sources of Information: