What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR - Eye Movement, Desensitisation & Reprocessing Therapy is a method of psychotherapy orginally developed for the treatment of PTSD. It is an evidenced based therapy recommended by NICE & the NHS for treatment of anxiety & PTSD.
The aim of EMDR is to heal the dysfunctional ties that arise from past trauma by enabling the client to adaptively respond to the present. EMDR uses bilateral stimulation e.g. to speed up the natural healing processes enabling safer contact with distrubing material.
EMDR uses a three pronged approach to deal to address:
- Past events that have laid the groundwork for the problem.
- Current circumstances that trigger the distress.
- Creating future templates to deal with potentially distressing situations.
For further information about EMDR see the EMDR UK & Ireland website
EMDR Therapy & Trauma
When you are very upset, your brain cannot process information as it does normally. One moment can become "frozen in time", and remembering a trauma can feel as bad as going through it for the first time because the images, sounds, smell and feelings haven't changed. These memories can have a lasting effect and interfere with the way your see the world and how you relate to other people.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information so that normal information processing is resumed.
Following successful EMDR sessions, you will no longer relive the images, sounds and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals, however EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
So EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a less distressing way.