Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was developed by Francine Shapiro in 1987 and was initially used only as a treatment for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Since then, it has evolved into a highly effective treatment method for a wide range of issues.
EMDR is a powerful therapeutic approach with the aim of reducing distress in the shortest period of time. It uses the natural healing ability of your body to clear emotional and cognitive blockages.
The mind can often heal itself naturally and much of this occurs during sleep, particularly during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. However, when you experience a traumatic event (eg a car accident) or are repeatedly exposed to distress (eg childhood neglect) your natural coping mechanism can become overloaded and disturbing experiences become stuck and unprocessed. EMDR utilises eye movements to help you process blocked information so that the distressing memory tends to change in such a way that it loses its painful intensity and becomes a neutral memory of an event in the past.
EMDR treatment is recommended by the government’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines. It has successfully treated over 1 million individuals for PTSD.
In addition, the World Health Organisation’s new guidelines recommend EMDR for trauma and loss, PTSD, acute stress and bereavement. They state “…EMDR therapy aims to reduce subjective distress and strengthen adaptive cognitions related to the traumatic event… these techniques help people reduce vivid, unwanted, repeated recollections of traumatic events” (WHO 2013).
How I Can Help You
We can help you with trauma, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, stress, sleep problems, bereavement, addictions, pain control, low self-esteem, performance anxiety, PTSD and phobias.
EMDR can help you with reducing the painful intensity of your distressing memory. Other associated memories may also heal at the same time. This linking of related memories can lead to a dramatic improvement in many aspects of your life.
What Will Happen in an EMDR Session?
We will take you through a thorough assessment and will then ask you specific questions about your distressing memory. Eye movements, similar to those during REM sleep will be created simply by asking you to follow the therapist’s fingers as they move side to side across your visual field.
After a short while the eye movements will stop and you will be asked to report back on the experiences you have had during each set of eye movements. Changes in thoughts, images and feelings may occur.
The therapist will continue until the distress is reduced as much as possible.
EMDR can be short term or part of a longer psychotherapy programme.