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What is EMDR?

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, commonly known as EMDR, is a mental health therapy method. EMDR treats mental health conditions that happen because of memories from traumatic events in your past.

EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (Yes! It’s a mouthful) is a memory intervention focusing on reprocessing traumatic memories that have been stored in maladaptive networks in our brain and nervous system. According to AIP (Adaptive Information Processing) Model, when experiences are overwhelming, traumatic or distressing, they get stuck in our nervous system before they can be adaptively processed in our brain. When this happens, the yuck that is stuck in our brain and nervous system, causes undesirable psychological and physiological symptoms.


These psychological and physiological symptoms are often translated into mental health disorders but rather are our nervous system's attempt to adapt to these adverse experiences. EMDR through an 8 phase process, works with our memory networks to reprocess traumatic, distressing or overwhelming memories to allow the brain to process them in healthy and adaptive ways.

EMDR’s main tool for reprocessing is BLS or Bilateral stimulation. This can be in the form of eye movement where the client follows the therapist fingers as it travels back and forth or tapping where the client alternates tapping with their hands or feet. The BLS occurs while the client focuses on a distressing image, sensation, or thought and periodically notice and observe while the nervous system processes the memory.

EMDR follows 8 phases of treatment to help the client safely and effectively reprocess their trauma. The 8 phases are the following:


SITCAP, is like a gentle guiding light in emotional storms, helping children navigate trauma with structured activities and sensory tools, leading them towards healing like a sailboat finding calmer shores.


Structured Sensory Interventions for Traumatized Children, Adolescents and Parents

The SITCAP model revolves around a fundamental idea: children can effectively deal with trauma by engaging in sensory activities, such as art, to process their experiences. By doing so, it not only lessens symptoms associated with trauma, like PTSD, but also strengthens their capacity for resilience. This approach enables children to express their traumatic experiences visually, fostering a deeper understanding of themselves and how they perceive the world post-trauma. Consequently, they can better navigate future stressful situations. The SITCAP program includes various sensory-based activities, including drawing, imagery, and expressive art, to provide a tangible representation of their experiences and perspectives in the aftermath of trauma.

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