Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health

Eye Movement Desensitization
and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is one of the innovative, evidence-based treatment options we have here at Simcoe Addiction & Mental Health. It has been proven effective in treating co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders. This type of therapy is used as both an outpatient and inpatient program.

Talk Therapy

EMDR is a form of talk therapy that is different from our other options because it focuses specifically on a client’s psychological and emotional responses to memories of past traumatic experiences. Our therapists help clients to process these responses without becoming resistant or overly distressed. This treatment complements other types of therapy including cognitive-behavioural therapy and individual therapy.

EMDR Treatment

This type of treatment combines a focus on the past, present and future, as well as relevant events that have caused disturbing or traumatic memories. Clients will learn how to emotionally process these traumatic past events, so it is not only beneficial to those diagnosed with PTSD. Clients are also encouraged to focus on alternative stimuli that are provided by our therapists. This helps break up the negative emotions and encourages clients to seek out the positive where possible.

EMDR treatment starts with several sessions where a client recounts their history, and a treatment plan is developed. Together, a therapist and client will discuss the possible areas where help is needed to process, including anything from the past or situations that are causing emotional distress in the present.

Desensitization and Reprocessing Phases

The early phases of EMDR sessions focus on childhood events, rather than present, day-to-day stressors. It’s important to remember that EMDR focuses on a client’s psychological and emotional responses more so than the events themselves.

The therapist provides several different methods to handle emotional distress in the second phase of the treatment. A variety of stress reduction and imagery techniques can be taught here. These can be used during sessions or afterwards.

In the final phase of EMDR, the client learns to identify:

  • The memory and the visual images related to it.
  • Any negative beliefs they have about themselves.
  • Emotions and body sensations that are related to the above.

During the final phase, clients also identify at least one positive belief about themselves. Together with the therapist, they rate this belief and the intensity of any negative emotions they feel. Over time, clients will begin to feel more firm in their positive beliefs about themselves, and effectively more desensitized to the past and to distressors.

If you would like to talk to one of the professionals at Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health about whether Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) is right for you or your loved one, please email us at or call us at 1-833-304-8181.

Interested in learning about other treatment methods? Continue to our Treatment Methods page.

If you are experiencing a medical or life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or your local emergency services immediately.