What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR Therapy or Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing is a powerful psychological treatment method that was developed by a Clinical Psychologist, Dr Francine Shapiro in 1987, specifically for the treatment of people with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
EMDR is used for individuals who have experienced some form of Trauma that has remained unresolved – for instance physical assault, sexual assault, torture, rape or car or motor bike accident etc. The goal of EMDR is to process disturbing traumatic memories by reducing their on-going effect by enabling that person to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms. It has been found to benefit Children as well as Adults.
EMDR Therapy helps to liberate clients who are living in the past to move into a healthy and productive present. It is highly effective for the treatment of Traumas (PTSD), Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD), Pain including Phantom Pain and Phobias.
When someone experiences a severe psychological trauma (rape, road accident, torture, abuse etc.) it appears that an imbalance occurs in the nervous system. Due to this imbalance, the information processing system is unable to work effectively. The information acquired at the time (sights, sounds, images, physical sensations etc.) is not able to be processed properly. Therefore, they get triggered over and over again by internal and external stimuli causing nightmare, flashbacks and intrusive thoughts (PTSD).
When a trauma occurs it seems to get locked in the nervous system with the original sounds, thoughts, feelings and sights. The eye movements used in EMDR therapy seem to unlock the nervous system and allow the brain the process the trauma – so that it no longer is traumatic.
EMDR is an efficacious therapy that does not require much talking and opening up by the client – hence why it is used extensively with veterans and soldiers of war. It also does not require any homework which can be a drawback of CBT or TF-CBT (Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).
Qualified EMDR Therapist
I am a qualified EMDR Therapist having undertaken extensive EMDR training with EMDR Works, EMDR Europe with Richard Mitchell, EMDR Works Senior trainer; one of Europe’s leading providers of EMDR Training with an international reputation for excellence.
I am also a member of the SIG in EMDR (Special Interest Group) which is a (UK, Ireland and Europe) members only forum for open discussion among fellow EMDR professionals on various topics relating to EMDR, allowing me to participate online, by email or both. There are over 100 members in the SIG. I am also a member of the SIG in EMDR and Spirituality. This gives me access to the latest developments and protocols in EMDR Therapy.
I myself received EMDR therapy, whilst training, to overcome a deep fear of spiders. I was able to move pass my phobia and was able to handle a tarantula after receiving the therapy; photos of this are on my Facebook page.
Is EMDR the same as Hypnotherapy?
EMDR is not Hypnosis nor a form of Hypnotherapy. Its approach targets past experience, current triggers and future potentially challenging situations resulting in alleviation of presenting symptoms, a decrease of distress from the disturbing memory, improved view of self, and resolution of present and future anticipated triggers.
How EMDR Therapy works?
EMDR therapy’s success is based on the Therapist following a strict 8 Phase EMDR treatment Protocol. It has a sound theoretical framework based on the understanding of neurology and has a huge body of published research to demonstrate its effectiveness.
EMDR is achieving positive outcomes with an ever increasing breadth of trauma-related mental health problems. It manages to take a trauma that an individual has been enduring for a lifetime by turning it from a living nightmare to a simple log of memories that never troubles the individual again.
In 2013 the World Health Organisation (WHO) formally approved the use of EMDR in Adults and Children for PTSD. It is also the recommended treatment of choice for PTSD by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).
EMDR Therapy success stories
Some of client successes with this form of treatment include:
- helping a client who had been traumatised by a sexual assault
- helping a client who had been traumatised by their physically abusive childhood
- helping clients with their phobias (spiders, flying and cars)
- helping clients process the traumatic memories of the death of a relative due to suicide
- helping clients with traumas that happened in their childhood where counselling and hypnotherapy have produced no significant results.