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EMDR

What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

"EMDR is a structured therapy that encourages the patient to focus briefly on the trauma memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (typically eye movements), which is associated with a reduction in the vividness and emotion associated with the trauma memories. EMDR therapy is an extensively researched, effective psychotherapy method proven to help people recover from trauma and PTSD symptoms. Ongoing research supports positive clinical outcomes showing EMDR therapy as a helpful treatment for disorders such as anxiety, depression, OCD, chronic pain, addictions, and other distressing life experiences (Maxfield, 2019). EMDR therapy has even been superior to Prozac in trauma treatment (Van der Kolk et al., 2007). Shapiro and Forrest (2016) share that more than 7 million people have been treated successfully by 110,000 therapists in 130 countries since 2016."

(EMDR International Association)

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Is EMDR evidence based?

Yes.  EMDR is a recognised intervention by the NHS, and recommended by NICE guidelines for trauma, although there are now many individual studies which demonstrate effectiveness for wide range of mental health difficulties.  

 

How does it work?

It's not clear how it works, but the evidence is that it does.  Some theories are around connecting left and right brain hemispheres, in a way that might connect memory to language, and store it as a past event (so we can make better sense of our experiences).  Some theories make links with our 'REM' sleep, where our eyes are noticed to flicker, and it is thought that this is linked to the processing of information and memory.  Some theories are around allowing us to access information and memory that we do not hold at a 'conscious' level.  There is a handout here which explains more:   https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/EMDR.pdf

 

How is it done?

 Your therapist would do some preparation to identify key memories and themes with you.  You would be given some instructions, and agree on a mode of processing.  This is usually eye movements, chest taps, arm taps, leg taps, or hand buzzers.  

I find this to be a nice, easy to understand video  www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7yKY8Hm12Y

 

 

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This link starts mid-way through a video, at the point where there is a demonstration of the processing: www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2ra8p4MSOk&t=477s

 

Which memory would I use?

Are you qualified?

For some people, there is a clear traumatic memory which they wish to resolve.  For other people, they have many experiences which taught them "I'm a bad person", "I'm inferior" , "I'm unsafe", "I should have done more", "I'm worthless" "I can't trust anyone", as example.  EMDR can be used to desensitise and reprocess.  

 

Yes, I am fully qualified to provide EMDR therapy.

It is recommended you seek a qualified therapist and not attempt to do EMDR on yourself.  It may appear straight forward but there is a protocol to the processing.  

 

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