EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing

What’s is EMDR?

If something traumatic has happened to you (whether it be a car accident, abuse or something seemingly less significant like being humiliated), the memory of your experience may come crashing back into your mind, forcing you to relive the original event with the same intensity of feeling – like it is taking place in the present moment.

These experiences that pop into your awareness may present themselves as either flashbacks, intrusive thoughts or nightmares, and are thought to occur because the mind was simply too overwhelmed during the event to process what was going on.

As a result, these unprocessed memories and the accompanying sights, sounds, thoughts and feelings are stored in the brain in ‘raw’ form, where they can be accessed each time we experience something that triggers a recollection of the original event.

While it isn’t possible to erase these memories, the process of Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) can alter the way these traumatic memories are stored within the brain – making them easier to manage and causing you less distress.

An EMDR session

An EMDR treatment session can last up to 90 minutes. Your therapist will move his or her fingers back and forth in front of your face and ask you to follow these hand motions with your eyes. At the same time, the EMDR therapist will have you recall a disturbing event. This will include the emotions and body sensations that go along with it.

Gradually, the therapist will guide you to shift your thoughts to more pleasant ones. Some therapists use alternatives to hand movements, such as tapping.

People who use the technique argue that EMDR can weaken the effect of negative emotions. Before and after each EMDR treatment, your therapist will ask you to rate your level of distress. The hope is that your disturbing memories will become less disabling and distressing.

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Conditions Treated

I am able to offer EMDR therapy to people experiencing:

  • People who have experienced or witnessed violence, disasters, crimes, sexual assault and other traumas, victims of crime and professionals such as police, emergency workers and firefighters; accident victims and anyone who has experienced a serious loss (such as the death of a close friend of family member etc)
  • EMDR is also very effective treatment for people suffering from phobias–fear of flying, spiders, heights etc.
  • EMDR has the power to relieve any type of emotional block or fear

Although most research into EMDR has examined its use in people with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), EMDR is sometimes used to treat other psychological problems. They include and studies to date show a high degree of effectiveness with the following conditions:

  • OCD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Childhood trauma (sexual, emotional and physical trauma)
  • Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS)
  • Headaches & Migraines