Trauma Therapy


What is EMDR?:

"Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy treatment that was originally designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories (Shapiro, 1989a, 1989b). Shapiro’s (2001) Adaptive Information Processing model posits that EMDR facilitates the accessing and processing of traumatic memories to bring these to an adaptive resolution. After successful treatment with EMDR, affective distress is relieved, negative beliefs are reformulated, and physiological arousal is reduced. During EMDR the client attends to emotionally disturbing material in brief sequential doses while simultaneously focusing on an external stimulus.

Therapist directed lateral eye movements are the most commonly used external stimulus but a variety of other stimuli including hand-tapping and audio stimulation are often used (Shapiro, 1991). Shapiro (1995) hypothesizes that EMDR facilitates the accessing of the traumatic memory network, so that information processing is enhanced, with new associations forged between the traumatic memory and more adaptive memories or information. These new associations are thought to result in complete information processing, new learning, elimination of emotional distress, and development of cognitive insights.

EMDR uses a three pronged protocol: (1) the past events that have laid the groundwork for dysfunction are processed, forging new associative links with adaptive information; (2) the current circumstances that elicit distress are targeted, and internal and external triggers are desensitized; (3) imaginal templates of future events are incorporated, to assist the client in acquiring the skills needed for adaptive functioning." as cited at:

What is narrative therapy?

"Narrative therapy is an approach to counseling and community work. It centers people as the experts in their own lives and views problems as separate from people. Narrative therapy assumes that people have many skills, competencies, beliefs, values, commitments and abilities that will assist them to reduce the influence of problems in their lives.

The word ‘narrative’ refers to the emphasis that is placed upon the stories of people’s lives and the differences that can be made through particular tellings and retellings of these stories. Narrative therapy involves ways of understanding the stories of people’s lives, and ways of re-authoring these stories in collaboration between the therapist / community worker and the people’s whose lives are being discussed. It is a way of working that is interested in history, the broader context that is affecting people’s lives and the ethics or politics of therapy. These are some of the themes which make up what has come to be known as ‘narrative therapy’. Of course, different people engage with these themes in their own ways. Some people choose to refer to ‘narrative practices’ rather than ‘narrative therapy’ as they believe that the phrase ‘narrative therapy’ is somewhat limiting of an endeavor which is constantly changing and being engaged with in many different contexts.
(For an easy-to-read introduction about narrative therapy, see 'What is narrative therapy?' by Alice Morgan, Dulwich Centre Publications 2000)

How does narrative therapy fit within broader family therapy traditions?

Family therapy is a diverse endeavor that has a fifty year history of engaging with new and unorthodox ideas, of questioning commonly held views, and developing creative practices. The family therapy field is characterized by a number of themes including - considering the problems people face in the wider context of life; considering people’s identities as constructed through family relations and through history and culture; and addressing people’s problems through an interactional or participatory approach – that is to say by meeting with families and other communities of people.

Within family therapy there are a number of different approaches, all of which explore these themes differently. The family therapy field has shown a genuine interest in narrative therapy ideas, opening space for narrative therapy discussion, keynote addresses, workshops and publications. Narrative therapy is just one of the various schools of family therapy, sitting alongside structural family therapy, systemic family therapy, constructivist family therapy, brief therapy, solution-focused therapy, linguistic systems approach and various others. Although these schools of thought all share the common themes listed above, there are also many significant differences between them."
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What is solution focused therapy?

The focus of this therapy is on looking for the solutions within an individual or family's internal resources. This therapy is brief because there is an expectation that change is inevitable. We seek to explore ways to resolve difficulties through doing more of what is working and using the solutions at hand to help create changes that are needed to enjoy wellness and achieve the therapeutic goals set up by the client based on their desired outcome.  

"Solution Focused therapists have learned that most people have previously solved many, many problems and probably have some ideas of how to solve the current problem. To help clients see these potential solutions they may ask, “Are there times when this has been less of a problem?" or  "What did you  (or others) do that was helpful?”' as sited at: