EMDR Therapy Brisbane

Psychologists at Brisbane Counselling Centre have been helping people throughout Queensland suffering the effects of trauma and other adverse life events for over 30 years using EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing). As an early adopter of this (now Medicare-certified) evidence-based treatment strategy, close collegial mentorship and collaborative development has seen practitioners attending this Centre further refine the practice to continuously improve client outcomes.

What is EMDR Therapy?

Different to most “talk-therapy” strategies, EMDR utilises a psychosensory (involving the application of  visual, auditory, or tactile input to alter the mind and brain) component to deal with distressing or problematic memories related to adverse life events (stressors).

It is an integrative tool, often used in conjunction with other evidence-based therapies including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, schema-focussed therapy, family systems therapy, Mindfulness, and trauma-informed therapies.

By utilising bilateral stimulation (‘back and forth’ eye movements, sounds, or tapping), the originally experienced negative emotions, physical sensations, and beliefs are altered as the targeted memory is integrated with more adaptive information.

Consequently, the disturbing life experience becomes a source of strength and resilience.

Having used EMDR since its inception (read our historical account here), practitioners at Brisbane Counselling Centre utilise the latest research-based developments in a field that has expanded in its applications (“small-t” trauma and couples therapy), protocols (pain, addiction, grief), modes of delivery (online), and enhancements (Polyvagal and Working Memory Theory- informed EMDR).

How does EMDR therapy work?

The brain has several mechanisms to keep distressing or traumatic memories ‘stuck’ so that we will remember, and try to avoid, these events in the future. It is a survival instinct.

Although the exact mechanism is still unclear (see here for more on the History and Science of EMDR), EMDR essentially ‘un-does’ or ‘neutralises’ the unhelpful emotional responses that these situations, emotions and memories elicit.

Whilst it doesn’t get rid of bad memories, it splits off the fear/distress and sharpens the images to form an adaptive and accessible snapshot for future reference.

What is EMDR therapy used for?

EMDR is internationally recognised as one of the leading strategies for treating trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Complex PTSD, although it is increasingly being integrated into other evidence-based therapeutic approaches targeting a variety of presenting issues including phobias, panic disorders, chronic pain & migraine, disordered gambling, and prolonged grieving.

For a more comprehensive list, please click here.


EMDR Counsellingin Brisbane

If you think that you or someone you know could benefit from EMDR, then please give us a call on 07 3831 4452. Our receptionists are very kind and friendly and are always keen to assist with any questions you may have.

We look forward to being of help!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find a qualified EMDR therapist in Brisbane?

To find a qualified EMDR therapist in Brisbane, you can visit the Brisbane Counselling Centre’s website and use their “EMDR therapists near me” search function. This will provide a list of certified EMDR therapists, along with their contact information and profile to book an appointment at the Brisbane Counselling Centre.

What can I expect during an EMDR therapy session at Brisbane Counselling Centre?

During an EMDR therapy session at Brisbane Counselling Centre, you will work closely with a trained EMDR therapist who will guide you through the eight phases of EMDR treatment. These phases include history taking, preparation, assessment, desensitisation, installation, body scan, closure, and re-evaluation.

How long does EMDR treatment typically take?

The duration of EMDR treatment can vary depending on the individual’s needs and the complexity of their trauma. Some clients may experience significant relief after just a few sessions, while others may require ongoing therapy for several months.

How do I know if EMDR therapy is the right treatment for me?

A consultation with an EMDR therapist at Brisbane Counselling Centre can help determine if EMDR therapy is the most appropriate treatment for your specific concerns and symptoms.

What is the cost of EMDR therapy sessions at Brisbane Counselling Centre?

The cost of EMDR therapy sessions at Brisbane Counselling Centre can vary depending on the therapist’s qualifications and session length. It is recommended to contact the centre directly for specific pricing information.

Can I use my private health insurance or government funding for EMDR therapy?

Yes, EMDR is now a Medicare-recognised evidence-based therapeutic approach, which means that rebates are available for EMDR treatment by a Medicare-registered psychologist under a ‘Mental Health Treatment Plan’ prepared by a doctor. Alternatively, if you have private health insurance covering psychology services, you may wish to claim rebates that way.

Some government-funded programs, such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), may also be able to cover EMDR therapy costs. It is important to check with your insurance provider or funding program for eligibility and coverage details.

Is EMDR safe?

Although observed rarely in this centre’s 30+ years’ of EMDR usage to impact a person after they have left the psychologist’s room, clients are routinely advised not to drive or operate machinery after a session if they experience any adverse effects, including the following (some of which may be considered to be an unwanted but integral part of the treatment modality):

  • Feeling emotionally uncomfortable: as for any psychotherapy, the process of sharing distressing thoughts, memories and feelings may in itself cause some discomfort.
  • Feeling physically uncomfortable: especially for trauma sufferers, therapy may re-evoke autonomic nervous system changes akin to the ‘fight-flight-freeze’ response we usually experience when faced with a potential danger or threat. Effects you may notice include muscle tension, breathing and heart rate changes, crying, and cold sweats or nausea, with some people reporting repetitive or intense dreaming.
  • Surfacing of new memories: as you recall a distressing memory, other memories may arise which can also be unsettling.
  • A spill over of intense emotions: some people report feeling ‘very emotional’ for some hours/days after an EMDR session.

Is all EMDR the same?

No. This centre’s director urges people considering the approach to seek the services of practitioners accredited by peak bodies including the EMDR Association of Australia.

Additionally, avoidance of ‘user’ Apps or gadgetry it is highly recommended, as widely evidenced in studies that show the “therapeutic alliance” to be a major factor in achieving quality outcomes in EMDR therapy. Indeed, when clients are asked to account for their success in psychotherapy generally, over 90% of respondents describe their relationship with the therapist as the factor of primary importance.

EMDR Myths

  • False memories: EMDR does not create memories that were not already there. As it facilitates memory re-consolidation, there may be changes over time when recalling the same memory.
  • Having to talk about the unspeakable: EMDR is effective even when you remain in control of how much detail you are comfortable sharing.
  • Homework: EMDR does not rely on exercises done outside the psychologist’s room, however some homework may be included if ancillary components (eg cognitive behavioural therapy or mindfulness) are used as part of your overall treatment plan.
  • Dissociation: although dissociation (disconnection between a person’s thoughts, sensory experience, memory, and/or their sense of identity) sometimes accompanies the symptoms of the condition EMDR is used to treat, it does not cause it to occur.
  • It’s a type of hypnosis: although the side-to-side movement part reminds people of the ‘swinging watch’ of the hypnotist, EMDR does not utilise the same neurological processes as hypnosis.
  • It’s just for PTSD: No, EMDR is effective in treating the mental fallout from many adverse life events.