Our philosophy of psychological dysfunction is rooted in attachment and trauma theory.

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.

Later you will hear about such treatment techniques as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT) and Bilateral Stimulation, however, when the secure bond between a parent and child is disrupted with a traumatic event it creates specific problems: insecure and anxious attachments. These weakened attachments create an opportunity for children to begin to have negative emotions and 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 an 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.

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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.

Our method is steeped in scientifically proven modalities.

We utilize a combination of effective techniques from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Bilateral Stimulation. CBT is an exposure therapy 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.[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 within 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. Symptoms can manifest in things like anxiety disorder, panic disorder and social anxiety just to name a few.

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.

Bilateral Stimulation

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 activity in the brain moving back and forth in order to assist in processing. 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 an opportunity for positive thoughts, beliefs and behaviours to emerge or be learned, which allows our clients to live more productive lives.

What makes this 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. Bilateral Stimulation focuses on the origin of the limiting beliefs, which is in alignment with our focus on attachment theory and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy(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 from 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. cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety retrieved from here.

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