EMDR - Eye Movement Desentizisation and Reprocessing
What is EMDR? EMDR is a short-term, mainly non-talking therapy effective for resolving traumatic memories and experiences. It involves clients moving their eyes from left to right as they follow the therapist’s fingers as she repeatedly passes them across their eye line for a period of about 25 seconds (At no time does the therapist touch the person’s eye). In between each period of eye movements clients briefly describe any thoughts, images or feelings that have come to mind.
EMDR may seem strange, but these side-to-side, bilateral movements, similar to those we make during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, quickly aids the recollection and, most importantly, the reprocessing of the disturbing memories that have become stuck in the central nervous system. Reprocessing doesn’t get rid of the memories, but through EMDR they become just that, memories, without the power to upset or disturb as they did before.
Who can it help? EMDR has been used since the 1980s for people experiencing the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) including intrusive memories, high anxiety and flashbacks. The first to benefit were war veterans and it is a recommended treatment by the health watchdog NICE (National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence) for those who have been traumatised by wartime conflict.
EMDR is also an effective treatment for other traumatic experiences such as childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence and psychosomatic pain conditions and long-term pain conditions that can’t be medically treated.
Alternatives to eye movements As an alternative to eye movements, which might not suit everyone, I offer other pleasant and non-intrusive forms of EDMR, which have produced equally effective results.
How many sessions? While every client’s experience and memories are unique, often just a few sessions are sufficient to completely resolve the traumatic memories.