Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR™) is a form of Psychotherapy that has been clinically shown to be an effective treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Panic Disorder, Anxieties, Depression and Trauma memories ranging from accidents, war trauma and sexual abuse amongst others.
EMDR therapy is one of the most significant, exciting and innovative developments for decades in the treatment of psychological trauma related conditions. It is supported by extensive research and recommended for the treatment of PTSD in national and international guidelines including the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In 2007 a review of 33 randomised controlled trials of various treatments for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, EMDR was rated as an effective method and did significantly better that other therapies according to patient self reports.
How does EMDR work?
When a person experiences a traumatic or distressing event it can result in the brain ‘freezing’ and being incapable of processing information.
When this ‘freeze’ or ‘block’ occurs within the processing system whenever the memory is recalled or triggered by something, be it a physical or emotional reaction, the person can then re-experience all that distress again, therefore diminishing the quality of their life, sometimes seriously.
EMDR attempts to unblock or free the memory by stimulating the blocked processing. It’s done by using eye movements, sounds or tapping.
In effect what is happening is that EMDR is helping the brain to reduce the intensity of the memory so that it becomes more ‘normal’ and any negative associations and feelings are neutralised.
We do this by using Bi Lateral Stimulation which can be eye movements, tapping or tones.
In effect EMDR uses elements of psychodynamics, imaginal exposure, physiological and cognitive elements of different therapies, mainly, the client’s own brain is doing the healing.
What happens during an EMDR session?
Within the session, the client is asked to hold the target memory and feeling, along negative beliefs about oneself which are then processed and cleared using bi lateral stimulation until they no longer have the unwanted effect on the client.
Any subsequent material that comes up is also dealt with until each ‘channel’ is cleared and a new positive statement of self is installed.
The first session is information gathering and history taking. Discovering what may be the situations/events to target.
The client is always in control and will have a safe/comforting place installed to help them in between sessions.
In following sessions we target the aspects of the distressing or traumatic memory, focusing on past, present and future to help the client process and clear all that may have disturbed him/her because of the memory and to be able to function healthily again in the present and future.