Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a unique, evidence-based, psychological treatment model designed to process overwhelming feelings, thoughts and images associated with memories of traumatic events. EMDR was initially developed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma. However, recent clinical research has shown that EMDR can be effective for any psychological disorders where disturbing memories are central such as panic disorder, phobias, complicated grief, performance anxiety and OCD.
During EMDR treatment, thoughts, emotions, memories, images and sensations associated with the traumatic experience are processed through bilateral eye movements. More specifically, the therapist uses a hand motion technique to guide the client’s eye movements from side to side, similar to watching a pendulum swing. This helps the client to remain anchored in the here-and-now whilst processing the effects of the traumatic memory. Thereby, thoughts and feelings that are associated with the traumatic event are replaced with more positive ones which in turn decrease overall distress and enhance emotional well-being.
Overall EMDR therapy aims to:
- Reduce the impact of the traumatic memories
- Help you to reduce levels of stress, anxiety and hypervigilance
- Reduce feelings of isolation, hopelessness and depression
- Help you to cope with day-to-day routine better and regain normality in your life
- Increase enjoyment and pleasure in your activities and relationships
- Increase self-esteem and confidence
What can I expect if I receive EMDR?
- We will agree on key traumatic memories that you want to work on
- There will be some repetition of this process which is part of the reprocessing experience
- I will continue to work with you and focus on specific memories until the intense affect associated with them has decreased
EMDR can significantly accelerate the healing process after a traumatic experience. The number of sessions required will depend to the complexity of the psychological difficulties being dealt with. In general, the more isolated the traumatic memory being treated, the shorter the treatment tends to be. EMDR is designed to be used as a stand-alone process, but can also be effectively integrated with other therapeutic approaches.