JoAnne Regina, M.A.
Psychotherapist and EMDR Therapist
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative psychotherapy that enables people to heal from from emotional distress and symptoms related to trauma and adverse life experiences while facilitating the brains' natural healing processes. It is founded on the premise that each individual has both an innate tendency to move toward health and wholeness, and the inner capacity to achieve it.
When distressing or traumatic events are experienced, the brain can become highly disorganised and overwhelmed and we are no longer able to process information in the same way we might otherwise. Whilst we may be able to understand experiences or the events that have happened on a cognitive or intellectual level, the memory can become held on a deeper, emotional and physiological level. This can result in intrusive thoughts, emotional disturbance, and negative self-referencing beliefs related to these unprocessed memories. EMDR can help make sense of the trauma-based symptoms (e.g. anxiety, panic attacks, sadness, anger/rage, phobias) and identify their cause.
While many therapies work on minimising symptoms, EMDR targets the cause: trauma-based memories that are "frozen" or unprocessed in the brain's memory network. EMDR works by using bilateral sensory stimulation (eye movements, tapping, or sounds) to support adaptive information processing which facilitates the resumption of normal information processing and integration resulting in the alleviation of trauma-related symptoms, reduction or elimination of distress from the traumatic memory, a more adaptive, positive view of the self, relief from bodily disturbance, and resolution of present and future anticipated triggers.
For more detailed information regarding how EMDR works and to obtain references for documented research on EMDR effectiveness, please visit:
What is EMDR Therapy? https://www.emdria.org/page/what_is_emdr_therapy.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a skills-based approach centred around validating a client's emotional experience, processing feelings and learning coping skills for mindful living, managing intense emotions and having healthy relationships. It operates within a framework of dialectical methods. The term dialectical refers to the processes that bring opposite concepts together such as change and acceptance.
DBT provides practical skills in areas of emotional regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness. While I do not offer comprehensive DBT, I incorporate these skills in my work with all clients, and have found that the techniques effective in dealing with emotional disturbance, increasing emotional tolerance, and maintaining stability outside of therapy.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a relatively short-term treatment, goal-oriented approach that aims to alleviate mental health and adjustment problems by addressing problematic cognitive and behavioural patterns that cause life interference and/or excessive emotional distress. It is considered the ‘gold standard’ treatment for the majority of clinical presentations and the most widely supported by research.
CBT examines the transactional relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Our thought processes impact our emotions and behaviour. How we perceive ourselves, others, and the world around us shapes our experience, and over time, shapes our core beliefs. These core beliefs or schemas become the lens through which we view our current experiences. The aim of CBT is to help identify and change unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, behaviours, patterns and coping styles. Sessions are designed to equip you with skills and techniques that you can use to help yourself both now and in the future.
Schema Therapy is an expansion of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) which gets to the core of an individual’s negative and maladaptive beliefs. Broadly defined, maladaptive schemas are unhealthy life patterns that develop in childhood or adolescence as a result of the interaction between one's temperament and hurtful experiences with significant others such as parents, siblings, or peers. Maladaptive schemas become themes that characterise how we perceive ourselves and how we interact with others. They influence how we think, behave and feel. Maladaptive schemas are painful, repetitive, and dysfunctional to varying degrees.
The initial goal of Schema Therapy is to identify one's schemas, their roots, and their present damaging influence. Subsequent goals include healing schemas, modifying self-defeating patterns, adopting constructive coping styles, and making changes that promote the fulfilment of core emotional needs and the formation of healthy and satisfying relationships. As schemas are deep rooted in adverse childhood experiences, I incorporate EMDR in order to process and resolve the traumas behind the emergence of schemas.