Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing
What is Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.
Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. However, EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes.
EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, therapist’s help individuals activate their natural healing processes.
What can EMDR help with?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Depression - Including feelings of hopelessness, lack of motivation and low energy, poor concentration and self-harm.
EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment. Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during one part of the session. After the therapist has determined which memory to target first, they will ask the individual to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use their eyes to track the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across their field of vision. As this happens, for reasons believed to be connected with the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, internal associations arise and the clients begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings.
In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level. For instance, a victim of bullying shifts from feeling fear and low confidence to holding the firm belief that, “I survived it and I am strong.” Unlike talk therapy, the insights individuals gain in EMDR therapy result not so much from clinician interpretation, but from the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes.
As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the individuals’ thoughts, feelings and behaviour are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution - all without speaking in detail about the difficulties you are experiencing or doing homework which is used in other therapies.
EMDR is suitable for children 5+ (with some adaptation), young people and adults.
The number of EMDR sessions you require will depend on the type of difficulty you have. It is usually short-term, with each therapy session lasting 90 minutes.