What is EMDR?
EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing
EMDR has been developed since 1987 and was first introduced by Francine Shapiro an American psychotherapist. EMDR is now recognised as one of the most successful, effective and intensively-researched way of managing the after effects of trauma.
EMDR is a set of standardised stages that can work with “Big T” traumas like road accidents, bomb attacks, assaults and also “little t” traumas that can build up over time that can often come from childhood experiences and general living.
How does EMDR work?
When experiencing a traumatic event the overwhelming emotions around at that time can interfere with the brain’s ability to process the experience and the experience becomes “frozen in time”. Remembering the event can cause the person to feel as if they are back in the event re-experiencing it all over again. This experience can therefore have an impact every day in the person’s ability to get on with life. It can affect how they see themselves, how they see the world around them and how they relate to others.
EMDR works by using bi-lateral stimulation which is very similar to the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep. EMDR stimulates the left and right hand sides of the brain by having your eyes follow moving fingers or through tapping to enable the experience to be reframed and moved across from the right side, which is often the feeling side of our brain, to the left side which is more related to logic/reasoning.
It allows the negative emotional charge which has become frozen to be released and processed, enabling the person to have a different perspective on the event in a less distressing way.
What does a session involve?
During the course of EMDR, I will work with you to identify specific issues and these will be the focus of the work. You will then be asked to think, or talk, about the memories, triggers and painful emotions whilst simultaneously focusing on moving fingers or tapping. You will be asked just to notice whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control or change what is experienced.
The sets of eye movements will continue until the memory has become less disturbing and becomes associated with more positive beliefs about yourself.
How long does it take?
One or more sessions are needed to assess the presenting issues and to understand the nature of the trauma and whether EMDR is the most appropriate treatment. It allows time for you, the client, to ask any questions and to be given a full understanding of how it works and what will happen in the sessions.