Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
For the majority of the time our body manages and processes new information and experiences without us being aware of it. However, when we are traumatised by an overwhelming event (for example a car accident or sexual assault) or by being repeatedly subjected to distress (such as an abusive relationship, sexual abuse or childhood neglect), our natural coping mechanism can become overloaded.
This can then result in these disturbing experiences being 'frozen' in the brain (or 'unprocessed') and then triggered when you subsequently experience similar events. Sometimes the actual memory is long-forgotten, but the painful feelings such as anxiety, panic, anger or despair are continually triggered in the present time (and sometimes without us understanding why).
EMDR helps to create connections between our brain's memory networks, so that our brain can process the traumatic memory in a very natural way. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions including:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (recommended by NICE as an effective treatment for PTSD).
- Sexual trauma.
- Sexual dysfunction.
- Anxiety and panic attacks.
- Sleep problems.
- Complicated grief.
- Pain relief.
- Self-esteem and performance anxiety.
What you can expect from therapy...
EMDR utilises the body's natural healing ability. After a thorough assessment and exploration of the disturbing memory or event, eye movements (similar to those during REM sleep) will be recreated. These eye movements will last for a short time and then stop. You will be asked to report back on the experiences you have had during each set of eye movements. You may notice changes in thoughts, images and feelings over this time.
EMDR is not simply the use of eye movements, however. It is a comprehensive therapeutic approach with principles, protocols and procedures that aim to reduce distress as quickly as possible.
What are the benefits?
With the repeated sets of eye movements, the memory tends to change so that it loses its painful intensity and simply becomes a neutral memory of a past event. Other associated memories may also heal at the same time, which can lead to dramatic and rapid improvements in many aspects of your life.
During the treatment you will remain fully awake, alert and in control. Reprocessing is usually experienced as something that happens spontaneously and new connections and insights are felt to arise quite naturally.
What's the cost?
£65.00 per session.
I may be able to offer a concessionary rate, so please feel free to enquire if money is an issue for you.
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EMDR Association UK & Ireland