What is EMDR
It stands for eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing. It is an extensively researched and effective treatment for many psychological conditions. It is recommended by the World Health Organisation and the American Psychological Association. It is a powerful therapy designed to help people recover from traumatic life events. It is best known for treating PTSD and is also effective in treating a wide range of mental health conditions. EMDR works by using bilateral eye movements, sounds or vibrations to activate a distressing memory and bring it to a positive resolution. During a session, a memory or event is activated and bilateral stimulation is used to desensitize the experience so that it is no longer disturbing, it is also reprocessed so that it is now linked with new positive beliefs and thoughts. The role of EMDR is to heal the past so we can be fully alive in the present.
How Does it Work
High levels of emotional disturbance at the time of an experience can disrupt the natural information-processing system of the mind. Distressing experiences may become stored with the sensations, emotions and beliefs encoded during the original experience, frozen in time in its own neural network and unable to connect with other memory networks. These other memory networks hold adaptive information. Original perceptions from the time of the event can continue to be triggered resulting in maladaptive feelings, thoughts and behaviours as well as overt symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia and panic.
Animation to explain EMDR Therapy and Trauma to Adults. https://emdrassociation.org.uk
These childhood survival strategies include beliefs and feelings that are not appropriate in the adult world. For example, “I am not safe” or “ I am not good enough”. These memories retain their power because they have not been assimilated into adult adaptive neural networks. EMDR works with the neuroplasticity of the brain facilitating an organic healing process within the neural networks.The client now has present moment access to more appropriate and adaptive thoughts, feelings, and body sensations.
For current research on the effectiveness of EMDR click here:
What Happens During an EMDR Session?
The therapist will take time getting to know you, your history and will develop a treatment plan based on your desired outcome from therapy. Preparation for the EMDR treatment is part of this plan. This may take several sessions. Once you begin memory reprocessing you will be asked to recall an event or experience and while you are doing so you will be asked to move your eyes rapidly from side to side.
EMDR Therapy translates very well as an online therapy. I have been working very effectively with clients online since 2020. There are excellent platforms similar to zoom, which allow for bilateral stimulation using sound and eye movements which facilitate memory reprocessing. Once you have a computer, broadband and a quiet space for the session, you are good to go.
“I have lived my whole life feeling not good enough. I had a difficult childhood and carried a lot of shame. It held me back in work and relationships for years. After EMDR therapy I feel a newfound confidence in myself. I finally feel that I am as good as anyone else and I am open to trying so many new things. I am in a relationship and have been promoted in my job. Years of talk therapy never made this difference”. L. K.