EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a comprehensive and powerful psychological treatment method which was developed by American clinical psychologist Dr Francine Shapiro in the 1980’s specifically for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and psychological trauma. Supported by extensive research, EMDR is recommended for the treatment of PTSD by the *National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the *World Health Organisation (WHO).
EMDR is a complex standardized method of psychotherapy that involves eye movements or other forms of alternative dual attention stimulation including hand tapping or audio tones which appear to stimulate the brain’s information processing system.
A wealth of research has been conducted demonstrating the benefits of EMDR in treating psychological trauma arising from experiences of war, childhood abuse or neglect, natural disaster, assault, road traffic accidents and workplace accidents. EMDR is also increasingly used to treat complaints which are not necessarily trauma-related, such as anxiety disorders, depression, chronic pain, phobias, self-esteem issues. It has been found to be of benefit to children as well as adults.
When something out of the ordinary occurs and you are traumatised by an overwhelming event e.g. a car accident or by being repeatedly subjected to distress e.g. childhood neglect, your natural coping mechanism can become overloaded. This overloading can result in disturbing experiences remaining frozen in your brain or being “unprocessed”. Such unprocessed memories and feelings are stored in the brain in a “raw” form. This means that they can be continually re-stimulated when you experience events similar to the difficult experiences you have been through. Often the memory itself is long forgotten, but the painful feelings such as anxiety, panic, anger or despair are continually triggered in the present. Your ability to live in the present and learn from new experiences can therefore become inhibited.
EMDR utilises the natural healing ability of your body and is a three-pronged approach which involves the process of:
- Past events that have laid the groundwork for dysfunction
- Present circumstances that elicit distress
- Future templates dealing with potentially distressing situations in a more adaptive manner
After a thorough assessment, you will be asked specific questions about a particular disturbing memory. Repeated sets of eye movement, similar to those during REM sleep will be recreated. You will be asked to report back on the experiences you have had during these sets of eye movements as the memory tends to change in such a way that it loses its painful intensity and simply becomes a neutral memory of an event in the past.
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your requirements.
*Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): The Management of PTSD in Adults and Children in Primary and Secondary Care: March 2005
*Guidelines for the Management of Conditions Specifically Related to Stress: WHO 2013