Blog: Articles on Psychological Wellbeing, Relationships, Brain Health, Counselling and Neurofeedback

Welcome to the blog of Sojourn Counselling and Neurofeedback. Articles posted here are written by our clinical staff and relate to services we offer or conditions we address. We hope they will be helpful to you in some way, whether you're considering counselling for yourself or someone else, gathering information on a mental health related issue, or just want to find out more about who we are and what we do.

Depression and EMDR

If isolation, anxiety, economic uncertainty, and the daily onslaught of bad news generated by the coronavirus pandemic are taking a heavy toll on your mood, you’re not alone.

COVID and Mental Health

According to Mental Health Research Canada, Canadians cite their highest levels of anxiety (25%) and depression (17%) to date, covering both self-reported and diagnosed anxiety and depression. This means that the proportion of Canadians who have reported their level of depression as high has increased by 70% since the height of COVID’s first wave.

The stress of social isolation, the worry about jobs, money, health, and the profound feelings of loss that many of us are experiencing at the moment can trigger depression for the first time or exacerbate symptoms if you’ve already been diagnosed.

Symptoms of Depression:

When you are suffering from depression, life can seem overwhelmingly bleak and hopeless. It can interfere with your ability to think straight, drain your energy, and make it difficult to get through the day. Going through periods of deep sadness and grief is a normal experience for all of us. These feelings usually fade away within a few days or weeks, depending on the circumstances. However, a deep sense of sadness which lasts more than two weeks and impacts our ability to function may be a sign of depression.

The symptoms of depression according to the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders include low mood or sadness and loss of interest for at least 2 weeks in activities that were previously enjoyable. Other symptoms may include low energy, guilt, feelings of worthlessness, change in appetite and sleep patterns, inability to concentrate, and suicidal ideation.

Depression affects everyone differently, and you might only have some of these symptoms. You may also have other symptoms that are not listed here. Keep in mind, it’s also normal to have some of these symptoms from time to time without having depression. But if your symptoms start to affect your day to day life, it might be the result of depression or something deeper.

Different Types of Depression:
It is also important to know that there are many different types of depression (including Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Depression, Postpartum Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and etc.). Over the past few years, various studies and researchers have found an association between the onset of depression and traumatic events (e.g., Brady, Killeen, Brewerton, & Lucerini, 2000) and stressful life events (e.g., Kendler, Hettema, Butera, Gardner, & Prescott, 2003; Risch et al., 2009). According to Shapiro’s (2001) adaptive information processing (AIP) model, stressful life events, loss, or “trauma” suffered in childhood or recently reside as memories maladaptive stored in the brain. These memories can be reprocessed in therapy.

Treatments for Depression:

When it comes to the treatment of depression, finding the best treatment can be slow and challenging for some. In order to find the right treatment, it is important to first understand the reasons underlying, and the types of depression you are struggling with. While many treatment options are beneficial in some ways, the conventional treatments and medications don’t always work for many people as they don’t always get to the root of the problem, especially when depression is rooted in traumatic experiences.

If you’ve tried other therapies without success, you may want to look into a type of therapy known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR.

EMDR and Depression:

EMDR is a type of therapy aimed at helping patients to overcome memories of past traumatic experiences that may still be causing distress. When a traumatic event occurs, it can get frozen in the memory systems of the brain with images of the event, beliefs about oneself developed from the trauma, related emotions, and body sensations of the traumatic experience. This is why when a trauma gets triggered by everyday circumstances, the individual may experience tremendous anxiety and depression, almost as if they are reliving the experience all over again.

EMDR helps to unfreeze this stuck or stored material so the individual is no longer “triggered” by innocuous events. EMDR treatment involves remembering aspects of the stressful event while the right and left hemispheres of the brain are activated through eye movements, taps or sounds in repeated sequence for short periods of time. In this way, parts of the memory are reaccessed, reprocessed by the nervous system, and released, to the effect that they are no longer bothersome when recalled.

EMDR is considered to be a type of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. This approach may be more beneficial for people who have depression as a result of traumatic experiences. Depression caused by factors such as nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, or other non-traumatic factors may not respond to EMDR therapy.

If you are someone struggling with symptoms of depression, you don’t have to fight this battle alone.
Our therapists at Sojourn would like to walk alongside you as you are gaining more understanding of your depression and explore the best treatment option for you. Book your first session today.



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