Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidenced based psychological therapy, which can help to alleviate symptoms resulting from past trauma. The therapy attempts to combine sensory stimulation with emotional memories to change the brain’s processing scheme and relieve emotional distress. Prior to EMDR therapy, an in-depth client history is taken to identify past and present traumatic events. When applying the protocol, a therapist will assist the client to recall negative or traumatic emotional memories while focusing their attention with bi-lateral external stimulus such as eye movements.
When someone is involved in a distressing event, they may feel overwhelmed and unable to process the experience as normal. The distressing memory seems to become frozen on a neurological level. When a client recalls the distressing memory, they can intensely re-experience what was seen, heard, smelt, tasted or felt. Sometimes the memories are so distressing, the person tries to avoid thinking about the distressing event to avoid experiencing the distressing feelings.
Through the use of EMDR, distressing memories seem to lose their intensity. The effect is believed to be similar to that which occurs naturally during REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement). EMDR helps reduce the distress.
You can ask your therapist questions and express any concerns you may have. Your therapist will spend some time doing some relaxation exercises with you, which could include a ‘safe or pleasant place’ exercise or a guided visualisation.
- Anxiety and depression.
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
- Feelings of guilt and shame.
- Difficulty in trusting others.
- Relationship problems.
- Performance anxiety.
- Phobias and fears.
- Low self-esteem.
- A reduction in re-experiencing trauma memories.
- Feeling more able to cope with and manage trauma memories without needing to avoid potential triggers.
- Feeling more able to engage in and enjoy pleasurable activities and relationships.
- Reduced feelings of stress, anxiety, irritation and hyper vigilance - allowing you to go about your daily business without feeling fearful and prone to panic.
- Reduced feelings of isolation, hopelessness and depression.
- A boost in self-confidence and self-esteem.