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What is EMDR?
Eye movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing – was developed in the 1980’s primarily to treat PTSD and has progressed to be used to treat trauma and other mental health difficulties.
Our brains store memories and file them away daily for us to recall, but when we are overwhelmed by a significant event such as a Road Traffic Accident, violent assault or traumatic birth this can be too much for our mind to cope with and store the memory effectively. As a result it remains reactive and can be triggered to replay in our minds, making us feel we are back in that trauma moment.
The Aim or EMDR:- is to identify and process unhelpful, stuck memories and attached behaviours and emotions that have occurred from recent or past trauma experiences. the Trauma is whatever the client feels is overwhelming and is stuck in a negative loop in their mind that they feel is too much to talk about and which significantly impacts their life. At the end of EMDR intervention they will still be able to recall the trauma memory but with less vividness, ‘charge’, colour and intensity.
What is an EMDR session like?
EMDR comprises of 8 phases, progression through all stages is not always needed.
A big part of EMDR is stabilising mood and understanding the impact of trauma and being able to self soothe. Further experiences during a session include being asked to think about, then notice changes in your images/memory, thoughts and body feelings whilst using bilateral stimulation. There are a choice of bilateral techniques, one is watching the Therapist’s fingers move across client’s visual field whilst keeping their head still but with eye movements follow left to right. Alternatives such as using a light bar, following the light with your eyes left to right, or tappers that you hold in your hands that gently vibrate left to right creating that bilateral stimulation of the body and mind that starts effective processing. This is repeated until the memory becomes less disturbing.
These are none invasive techniques, no pain and the therapist does not touch the client. The Client can remain seated with eyes either open or closed, whichever is comfortable whilst the therapist guides them through this process. The client remains fully aware of their surroundings whilst EMDR helps link them to the trauma but be very much present in the here and now.
Further details can be found on www.emdrassociation.org.uk