EMDR - eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR), is recommended by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NIHCE) as being one of the most effective ways of helping people overcome effects of trauma.
The founder of this technique, the American psychiatrist Dr. Francine Shapiro (1987), made a connection between eye movement and emotions. When the eyes move from left to right, both hemispheres of the brain are stimulated. This is called 'bi-lateral stimulation'. When this occurs in therapy, while thinking of a distressing memory, the mind is more likely to process previously unprocessed thoughts. This facilitates a release of the distress associated with difficult memories.
EMDR is usually part of a broader therapy that includes on-going psychotherapy - this will be discussed with you at your first appointment with Andy.
The mind can often heal itself naturally, in the same way as the body does. Much of this natural coping mechanism occurs during sleep, particularly during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
what is an EMDR session like?
EMDR utilises the natural healing ability of your body. After a thorough assessment, you will be asked specific questions about a particular disturbing memory. Eye movements, similar to those during REM sleep, will be recreated simply by asking you to watch the therapist's finger moving backwards and forwards across your visual field.
Experiences during a session may include changes in thoughts, images and feelings. With repeated sets of eye movements, the memory tends to change in such a way that it loses its painful intensity and simply becomes a neutral memory of an event in the past.
Other associated memories may also heal at the same time. This linking of related memories can lead to a dramatic and rapid improvement in many aspects of your life.
what can EMDR be used for?
In addition to its use for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, EMDR has been successfully used to treat:
anxiety and panic attacks; depression; stress; phobias; sleep problems; complicated grief; addictions; pain relief; phantom limb pain; self-esteem and performance anxiety.