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EMDR Therapy

The mind can heal itself naturally,

in the same way as the body does.

What is EMDR?


EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy approach that enables people to heal from the emotional distress that is the result of traumatising life experiences. It is widely assumed that severe emotional distress requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy is a simple but efficient therapy using bilateral stimulation (BLS) – eye movements, tapping or auditory tones – to accelerate the brain’s capacity to process and heal a troubling or traumatic memory.


The mind can heal itself naturally and quickly from psychological trauma in the same way the body recovers from physical trauma. When we get hurt, our body works to heal the wound. If a foreign body irritates the wound, it prevents healing and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. A similar sequence of events occurs with psychological trauma. If the mind is blocked by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound causes intense suffering. Once the block is removed, the brain naturally moves toward mental health. EMDR helps to remove the block and activate this natural healing process.

What are the symptoms of trauma?


We all react to trauma in different ways, experiencing a wide range of emotional and physical reactions.

Emotional and psychological symptoms:

  • Shock, denial, or disbelief

  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating

  • Anger, irritability, mood swings

  • Anxiety and fear

  • Guilt, shame, self-blame

  • Withdrawing from others

  • Feeling sad or hopeless

  • Feeling numb or disconnected from feeling

  • Flashbacks

Physical symptoms:

  • Insomnia or nightmares

  • Fatigue

  • Being startled easily

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Racing heartbeat

  • Edginess and agitation

  • Aches and pains

  • Muscle tension

How does EMDR work?


No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works. However, BLS, which the brain does naturally during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, causes the two sides of the brain to work together to reintegrate a memory. This process can be impacted by traumatic events. This leaves the traumatic memories unprocessed and fully charged with images, emotions, negative thoughts and bodily sensations. BLS seems to have a direct effect on the way the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, feelings and bodily sensations when the traumatising event is brought to mind. The person still remembers what happened, but it is less upsetting.

What can EMDR be used for?


EMDR has been successfully used to treat:

  • Anxiety

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders

  • Panic attacks

  • Fears and phobias

  • Feelings of worthlessness/low self-esteem

  • Anger

  • Sleep problems

  • Depression, including postpartum depression

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Grief and loss

  • Addiction

  • Pain, including phantom limb pain

  • PTSD

  • Dissociative disorders

  • Performance enhancement

What is an EMDR session like?


After a thorough assessment and development of a treatment plan, 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. You will then be asked to report back on the experiences you have had during each of these sets of eye movements. Experiences during a session may include changes in images, thoughts, feelings and sensations. With repeated sets of eye movements, the memory tends to change in such a way that it loses its painful intensity and 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.

How long does treatment take?


EMDR can be a brief treatment or part of a longer treatment plan. EMDR can be easily integrated with other approaches. For best effects, EMDR sessions usually last from 60 to 90 minutes. Positive effects have been seen after one session of EMDR.

What evidence is there that EMDR is a successful treatment?

EMDR is an innovative clinical treatment which has successfully helped over a million individuals. The validity and reliability of EMDR has been established by rigorous research. The World Health Organisation (WHO), American Psychiatric Association (APA), and National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recognize EMDR as an effective treatment for PTSD.

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