What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a powerful psychological therapy that helps people to heal from the impact of traumatic or disturbing life events such as rape, abuse, road traffic accidents and combat. It can can also be helpful in resolving distress resulting from other upsetting events.
How does EMDR work?
As with any form of psychotherapy, we can’t yet be completely sure how EMDR works in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is overwhelmed by a distressing event, their brain cannot process information as it normally does. The event can become frozen in time, so that when remembering it, the person feels as if they are reliving it, because the images, sounds, smells, and body sensations haven’t changed. Such memories can have a lasting negative effect which interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
EMDR seems to activate the brain’s inherent adaptive information processing system, enabling it to process the information that got stuck at the time of the distressing event. EMDR does not erase the memory, but reduces the emotional charge, so that the person can remember the event without becoming overwhelmed. Often during EMDR, the person will gain helpful insights, and at the end of successful EMDR therapy, will feel lighter, freer and more whole.
About Trauma and EMDR
What happens in EMDR?
If you are interested in exploring whether EMDR is the right way forward for you at this time, the first step is to book an initial session. This session will give you the opportunity to ask any questions and to see if you would like to work with me. I will also find out more about you, with a view to making sure that there is no reason why you should not have EMDR at this time.
If we both decide to go ahead with a course of EMDR, a few sessions (usually between 2 and 4) will be spent on taking a full history, preparing you for the process and formulating a treatment plan.
Once you are sufficiently resourced and prepared, we will be able to start working on past upsetting memories. You will be asked to recall the target memory and to move your eyes from right to left, following the device I use for bi-lateral stimulation. After a while I will pause the eye movements and will ask what you are experiencing now; usually there will be some sort of change with regard to thoughts, images, feelings or body sensations. We continue in this way until the memory loses its painful intensity and becomes a neutral memory of something that happened in the past.
During the processing, other associated memories may also heal at the same time.
Because of this linking of related memories, you may well experience dramatic and rapid improvement in many aspects of your life.
EMDR is a complete therapy, addressing not only the past event(s), but also present triggers and future concerns.