A question often asked by clients is how does this work? It isn’t magic! It is a lot of hard work intermingled with scientific research.

Our philosophy of psychological dysfunction is rooted in attachment and trauma theory. Later you will hear about such treatment techniques as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy(CBT) and EMDR however, when the secure bond between a parent and child is disrupted it creates insecure and anxious attachments. These weakened attachments create opportunity for children to begin to have limiting beliefs about themselves and problematic behaviours and emotional dysregulation can occur[1]. These limiting beliefs are irrational in nature, however, due to the egocentric nature of children the belief created is treated as if it is true. When there is damage to the attachment bond or when life events occur such as death, divorce, abandonment, poverty, etc. a child has then been exposed to trauma. Disruptive events also create opportunity for limiting beliefs to form and to grow within the person to create maladaptive behaviours, thoughts and beliefs. These memories require processing in order to be stored in declarative memory where the emotionality around them is significantly reduced if not eliminated.

Our method is steeped in scientifically proven modalities. We utilize a combination of a variety of effective techniques from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), bilateral stimulation and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). CBT is an accepted theory for many presenting concerns in therapy. It is intended to change and reframe people’s negative thoughts, beliefs and behaviours to positive thoughts, beliefs and behaviours. (Click on Cognitive Psychology)[2]. By recognizing the limiting beliefs at play and the behaviours, thoughts and cognitions that are associated with the belief our clients get an accurate view of some of the obstacles they have been trying to tackle for years. Generally, the symptoms that they present with in an intake session are linked to one or more limiting beliefs. Once a limiting belief can be eliminated then the maladaptive behaviours, thoughts and cognitions can be eliminated as well.

EMDR, the third modality that influences Shift’s Therapy protocol, considered an effective treatment for the diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder[3] and now, many other concerns. This is the modality that allows us to take a traumatic memory that is connected to a limiting belief and reprocess it using bilateral stimulation. Bilateral Stimulation is the act of having the brain move back and forth in order to assist in processing, and is a component of EMDR. The end result is that disturbing thoughts, memories, beliefs and behaviours that are stored in a place of trauma in the brain actually move to be stored in the brain where declarative memory, normal memory, is stored. The idea being that emotionality is removed from the memories, thoughts, beliefs and behaviours, which then eliminated the trauma attached to them. This provides opportunity for positive thoughts, beliefs and behaviours to emerge or be learned, which allows our clients to live more productive lives.

The reprocessing removes the emotionality from the memory allowing it to become a part of the declarative memory. The memory does not vanish; it simple changes the emotions and body sensations attached to the memory, so that it can be discussed calmly, without huge emotional reactions. What makes it so great for processing trauma is that it does not require discussion of all details and events, which is a time consuming aspect of traditional talk therapies and can have the effect of re-traumatizing or disturbing the client, as well. Instead, there is very limited discussion and the only words are around images and sensations that the client is experiencing. EMDR focuses on the origin of the limiting beliefs, which is in alignment with our focus on attachment theory and CBT. The first memory that is processed is the earliest one that can be accessed and is linked to the belief the client is working on. It is a very different experience to traditional talk therapy, but, has been proven to be very successful in dealing with many psychological concerns. Once the limiting beliefs have been removed and the memories have been reprocessed, our clients notice a dramatic improvement in their life satisfaction. They either have a new view of their potential or are so relieved with the absence of familiar reactions that they can see new opportunities and paths that were not evident to them before. This protocol is about getting to the root of the problem not simply symptom management. It bears repeating: It’s nor magic, it’s just plain hard work.

[1] Trauma, Attachment, and Stress Disorders: Rethinking and Reworking Developmental Issues. Retrieved from here.

[2] McLeod, S. A. (2015). Cognitive Psychology. Retrieved from here.

[3] Korn, D.L. (2009, November 1). EMDR and the Treatment of Complex PTSD. Retrieved from ingentaconnect.

10445 124 St NW, Edmonton, AB, Canada

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#303 908 17th Avenue Southwest, Calgary, AB, Canada

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Ph: 587.352.6463

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