Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
EMDR Therapy is a powerful, innovative, effective form of Psychotherapy which allows people to heal from the symptoms and distress, following traumatic experiences.
Originally developed for the treatment of PTSD, It works on the premise that the mind can often heal itself naturally, in the same way as the body does.
What are its Benefits?
Its benefits are that EMDR Therapy can help people relatively quickly, where it once took a long time to heal from a traumatic event or (series of them), using the usual Psychotherapy.
When you get a cut or a graze, your own body works naturally to heal the wound unless a foreign body gets in, then it becomes infected and very painful. Once the foreign body is removed, then the healing will naturally take place. EMDR Therapy works in a similar way but helps emotional or psychological symptoms.
If say the traumatic events leaves unpleasant memories, flashbacks, or the mind becomes stuck by the trauma, the “emotional wound”, causing psychological pain, results in poor mental health. Again, once the block is removed then healing naturally resumes.
An experienced Psychotherapist using protocols and set of procedures learned in EMDR training, can activate a clients natural healing processes.
What Happens When you Acquire a Trauma?
When you suffer a traumatic event, you might feel overcome by emotions which you find hard to deal with, so that your brain is unable to process it like a normal memory. This leads to those memory’s becoming stuck, so that when you recall them, or something triggers them, you might re-experience what you saw, heard or felt. These feelings can be quite extreme.
How Does our Mind Deal With This?
You might find that these distressing memories come to mind when something reminds you of the traumatic events, and they just seem to pop in during your day to day present life, (often when you least expect them to).
Often the memory itself is long forgotten, but the painful feelings such as anxiety, panic, anger, despair, fear, guilt, sadness, are being continually re-triggered in your present. Therefore, your ability to live in the present and to learn from you experiences can become inhibited. EMDR works to reintegrate connections between your memory networks.
How Does EMDR Therapy Work?
The alternating left-right stimulation of the brain with your eye movements following a bar of lights, during the EMDR sessions, seems to stimulate the “stuck or blocked” information processing system within the brain. By this process the distressing memories seem to lose their initial power, so that they are less distressing and just become like any other ordinary memories.
The effect is believed to be similar to that which occurs naturally during sleep, particularly during the REM part of your sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), when your eyes rapidly move from side to side. EMDR helps to reduce the distress of all the different kinds of memories, including whether it was what you saw, heard, felt or thought, and even the physical sensations.
(Francine Shapiro developed EMDR Therapy in 1987). Since then EMDR is being used effectively to treat a wide range of mental health problems such as:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Following all types of emotional / physical trauma or bad experiences
Past physical or sexual abuse
Low self-esteem or confidence
Recurring bad memories
Nightmares, flashbacks or powerful distressing emotions
Recurrent Negative feelings
What is an EMDR session like?
After an assessment, you will be asked specific questions about a particular disturbing memory. Eye movements, similar to those during REM sleep, will be recreated simply by asking you to watch a bar of moving lights. These eye movements will last for a short while and then stop. You will be asked to report back on your experiences from the sets of eye movements.
Everybody’s experience of the session is unique and individual but it may well include changes in thoughts, images and feelings. With repeated sets of eye movements, 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.
Often other associated memories may also heal at the same time. This linking of related memories can lead to a dramatic and rapid improvement in many aspects of your life. These changes will have occurred simply by all your memories becoming more healthily integrated together.
Can anybody benefit from EMDR?
EMDR can accelerate therapy by resolving the impact of your past traumas and allowing you to live more fully in the present. It is not however appropriate for everyone. The process is rapid, and any disturbing experiences if they do occur at all, last for a comparatively short period of time. Nevertheless, you do need to be aware of and willing to experience sometimes strong feelings and disturbing thoughts, which might occur during the sessions.
Will I Remain in Control During the Process?
During EMDR treatment you will remain in control, fully alert, wide-awake, and you can stop the process at any time. Throughout the session your therapist will support and facilitate your own self-healing, intervening as little as possible. Reprocessing is usually experienced as something which happens spontaneously, finding that new connections and insights arise. As a result, most people experience EMDR as being a very natural and most empowering therapy.
Is There Evidence that EMDR Therapy is a Successful Treatment?
EMDR is an innovative clinical treatment which has been found to successfully of helped over a million individuals. The validity and reliability of EMDR has been established by rigorous research and there are numerous control studies into EMDR, making it the most thoroughly researched method used in the treatment of trauma, and is recommended by the “National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence” (NICE) as an effective treatment for PTSD.
A Client Review of Angie’s
EMDR treatment from Angie has “cleared the fog of fear from my past that clouded everything. When dealing with challenging situations now, I can see clearly and I am able to remain calm. The triggers are a memory now, not a force that kept pushing me off course. I am so grateful thank you Angie.”
Contact: Angie Walker EMDR Practitioner (Dip. EMDR)