EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy approach developed by Francine Shapiro in 1987, to work with distressing or traumatic memories. The theory behind the EMDR relates to memories which are not stored properly within the brain and are believed to be blocked or unprocessed. EMDR is one way to help these memories to become processed and help you to move towards recovery.
How trauma affects us?
Most experiences are routinely managed and processed by the body naturally. However, some traumatic events (e.g. frightening events, accidents, violence, neglect, abuse or a disaster) are so overwhelming that your natural coping mechanisms become over loaded, resulting in the memories becoming unprocessed. These traumatic memories are stored in a part of the brain associated with emotions and physical sensations and are continually triggered when you experience similar events. The original memory may be forgotten but anxiety, panic, anger or despair are continually activated by present situations.
What happens during a session?
Therapy sessions start with a thorough assessment where we’ll work together to identify past events which could be causing difficulties for you in the present. During an EMDR processing session, we concentrate on troubling memories whilst you move your eyes from left to right (alternative methods are possible, hand taps, hand buzzers, noises). Movements continue for a short period of time and then stop; during this time you will be asked to report back on what you have noticed (thoughts, images or feelings), we then continue with the movements. The movements aim to help process the blocked and unprocessed memories.
We are able to be flexible with appointment times which could include evenings and weekends.
Who can benefit from EMDR?
EMDR can be used to help anyone and we are trained to support people of all ages (children, adolescents and adults). During treatment, there is a possibility that you may experience strong emotions, feelings and thoughts that you find distressing. However if these occur, they only last for a comparatively short period of time and we can work together to offer support and coping strategies to help you continue with everyday life between sessions.