In CBT, clients learn to identify, question and change the thoughts, attitudes and beliefs related to the emotional and behavioural reactions that cause them difficulty.

By monitoring and recording thoughts during upsetting situations, people learn that how they think can contribute to emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. CBT helps to reduce these emotional problems by teaching clients to:

  • identify distortions in their thinking

  • see thoughts as ideas about what is going on, rather than as facts

  • stand back from their thinking to consider situations from different viewpoints.

You as the client also learn how certain beliefs, which you may have developed in the past to deal with difficult experiences, are no longer helpful or true in the current situation. For example, the therapist may help a client who was physically abused as a child to explore and question the mistaken belief that he or she is responsible for the abuse. CBT can also involve exposure techniques. These strategies are particularly helpful for people with simple post-traumatic stress; that is, those who have been traumatized by a single event. Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing the person to the feared situation. (For advanced, complex or compound traumas, also see EMDR).

CBT can also help the client to develop coping strategies to reduce anxiety. Strategies may include breathing retraining, relaxation and visualization exercises.



DBT is an evidence based specific type of cognitive behavioural psychotherapy developed in the 1980’s by psychologist Marsha Linhehan for the treatment of borderline personality disorder.  It is now being used not only borderline personality disorders but for other mental health challenges including depression, binge eating, PTSD, self harm and substance abuse. It can be used for people dealing with overwhelming emotion, self harm, suicidality and struggling with interpersonal skills. DBT has four main skills it teaches: mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and emotion regulation. 

  1. Mindfulness: the practice of being in the present and acknowledging thoughts, feeling, and behaviours without trying to control them as they happen. It is learning to pay attention non judgementally to whats happening in the present moment.

  1. Distress tolerance: the processing of learning how to cope during a crisis and not reacting impulsively to make things worse. Distress tolerance skills with help you get through the rough patches without making it worse. 

  1. Interpersonal effectiveness: the ability to ask for what a person needs, saying no when necessary, maintaining relationships and self respect. Interpersonal effectiveness skills will help you work through conflict and challenges in relationships. 

  1. Emotion regulation: the ability to manage emotions so that they do not control thoughts and behaviours. Emotion regulation skills will help you recognize emotions, overcome barriers to emotions that have positive effects, be more mindful for emotions without judging them and expose yourself to your emotions.



EMDR is recognized as a highly-effective and efficient therapy for the permanent elimination of the symptoms of stress and trauma. It was developed in the US in 1989 by American psychologist, Francine Shapiro, and is now recognized by many regulatory bodies in North America, UK, Europe, South America and the Middle East including:

  • The World Health Organization (2013)

  • The American Psychiatric Association (2004 & 2009);

  • The US Department of Defense/Veterans Affairs (2004 & 2010), and

  • The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (2000 & 2008).

EMDR is regulated by the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA), which oversees the training, certification and consultation of EMDR therapists throughout the world.


First being used with victims of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) who had symptoms like flashbacks, phobias and panic attacks, EMDR proved to be an effective therapy tool; it works well with anxiety, depression, over-reactive anger, intrusive thoughts, irritability, worrying, disturbed sleep, and more. In fact, EMDR is effective with anything that causes us to say we are "stressed out".


EMDR essentially mobilizes the brain's own healing abilities.

When bad things happen, they happen first to the body; then the emotions kick in; and then the brain starts to reprocess these events and emotions. You 'sleep on it', you think about it, you get support from friends & family, and after some time has passed, while you still remember the negative experience, you no longer feel upset about it. You can probably bring to mind some trauma in your life which you still remember clearly, but which you feel neutral about. You have peace with the memories. This is an example of the brain working the way it should.

Sometimes, however, the reprocessing gets stuck, and you don't have peace. This is where EMDR comes in; it desensitizes and reprocesses negative memories and issues. EMDR is an excellent way of releasing the pain from the past, to free up your resources for the present and future.

In EMDR therapy, you think about something that is upsetting to you – like a traumatic memory – and you follow the therapist's hand waving back and forth in front of your eyes. (Actually, you don't need to use eye movements for EMDR – the same effects can be achieved working with a headset and alternating auditory tones, for example.) This 'back-and-forth' or bilateral sensory stimulation reactivates the information processing system of the brain. The idea here is that trauma, or difficult issues, sometimes get stuck in the information processing system of the brain, along with their emotional or even physical content.

One of the most important tenets of EMDR is the idea that, as human beings, we are adaptable; that is, we move naturally towards healing. To demonstrate this idea, Shapiro offers the example of a wound, which starts naturally to heal. The human spirit is the same; when it is wounded, it naturally orients towards healing. Sometimes, however, this process gets held up or stuck (such as when dirt gets stuck in a wound) and the healing is blocked. This is where EMDR can help.


So, what is happening when you are doing this therapy? Neurobiological research out of Harvard has shown EMDR and REM sleep to involve the same kinds of activity in the brain. EMDR may be a conscious, accelerated version of what your brain is doing when you are in REM sleep, or the dreaming stage of sleep. Many decades ago, researchers noticed that when we dream, our eyes move back and forth rapidly, naming this phase of sleep the "Rapid Eye Movement" or REM stage of sleep. And what are you doing when you're dreaming? You are reprocessing your experiences. So, the connection between this 'back and forth' activity and reprocessing seems less odd, when you think of it in connection with REM sleep.

Want to learn more:

In Canada EMDR can only be done by a properly trained clinician – therapists at Beyond Trauma Recovery Clinic are trained clinicians, and are regularly changing peoples lives, every day.



Mindfulness therapies incorporates practices such as meditation and breathing exercises. Using

these tools, therapists teach clients how to break away from negative thought patterns that can

cause a downward spiral into a depressed states so they will be able to fight off depression

before it takes hold. One of the main focuses of mindfulness is teaching individuals to stay

focused in the moment. By anchoring and grounding yourself in the present people often

experience a greater sense of calm and decrease in anxiety.



    EFT is an experiential approach with a focus on adult attachment/bonding.

    -  The ultimate goal being to create and foster a positive, emotional, secure bond between the couple.

    • Creates a feeling of safety and connectedness within the relationship.

    • Has a positive effect on mental and physical health, as couples regulate each other’s physiology and emotional functioning.

    • Has substantial empirical support for its effectiveness (over 30 years of research).

    • Therapy is brief, usually implemented in 8-20 sessions.



    Narrative therapy is a style of therapy that helps people become-and embrace being-an expert
    in their own lives. In narrative therapy, there is an emphasis on the stories we develop and
    carry with us through our lives. As we experience events and interactions, we give meaning to
    those experiences and they, in turn, influence how we see ourselves and our world. We carry
    multiple stories at once, such as those related to our self-esteem, our abilities, our
    relationships, and our work, for example.



    Unlike traditional forms of therapy that take time to analyze problems, pathology and past
    events, SFT concentrates on finding solutions in the present time and exploring one’s hope for
    the future to find quicker resolution of one’s problems. This method takes the approach that
    you know what you need to do to improve your own life and, with the appropriate coaching
    and questioning, are capable of finding the best solutions.