What is Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming) is a psychotherapy that permits individuals to reconcile from the symptoms and emotional anguish that are the result of distressing life experiences. Studies show that by using EMDR therapy individuals can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. EMDR proves that just as the body can heal from physical trauma, so too can the mind. If you cut yourself, your body produces a scab and the wound heals. EMDR proves that a similar structure of events occurs with psychological processes.
EMDR treats two types of trauma, big traumas such as a disaster, war, rape, assault, etc; these generally present themselves, but are not limited to as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), nightmares, anxiety, phobias, and fears. Small traumas for instance would be feelings of low self-esteem, shyness, feeling like you are not good enough, and a feeling of incompetency, these traumas give you a lack of self-confidence and attack your sense of self-worth. Both types of trauma cause flawed beliefs either about yourself or the world around you, it can also cause you to behave in ways that are not necessarily healthy. EMDR therapy not only treats past trauma effectively, it also treats everyday memories that create feelings of low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, grief, phobias and much more.
The experience of a trauma becomes fixed in the body and mind in the form of irrational emotions, blocked energy, and physical symptoms. When a trauma is experienced it gets fixed into its own memory network as it was experienced; the images, physical sensations, tastes, smells, sounds and beliefs, as if frozen in time in the body and mind. EMDR works to make dysfunctional thoughts functional. Think of the mind like a computer’s hard drive if a virus infects the hard drive, we use anti-virus software to remove it. When it comes to the brain, a trauma would be the virus and EMDR is essentially the anti-virus.
What to expect from an EMDR session
Firstly, I would discuss your history with you, during which we will identify the target(s) for reprocessing. I will then supply you with various ways to handle emotional stress; these will be for use during and in between sessions.
Using sets of bilateral stimulation eg eye movements, taps, or audio, I will ask you to focus on the very first thing that comes to mind regarding the target, this could be a feeling, a word, or an image. Using rounds of bilateral stimulation I will ask you to tell me what you are noticing at given intervals. We will continue this until your mind has reprocessed the target. Some people say it's like watching a movie, others say it's like being in a car and watching the scenery go by, either way, as mentioned above it takes the dysfunctional thought and makes it functional, leaving you to move on with your life without feeling debilitated by a memory.
Studies show (and there have been many) that by using EMDR 84%-90% of single distress victims no longer had PTSD after only three 90-minute sessions. Another study shows that 100% of single distress victims and 77% of multiple distress victims no longer had PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions.
If you have any questions, or feel that you would benefit from some EMDR, please feel free to contact me to arrange a free, no obligation 30 minute consultation.