Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) helps us to process unresolved events of the past that have an effect in the here and now and can help with fears relating the past events such as car accidents, abuse, personal attacks, bullying, rejection, anxiety, panic attacks, public speaking, phobias, disturbing memories and many many more.
We can often continue with safety behaviours and feel the negative emotions from the traumas we’ve experienced. For example, if you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may avoid driving or being in a car and the emotions of anxiety and fear may remain with you in relation to cars. Another example is if we had a panic attack in a supermarket we may avoid supermarkets and shops or if we have a phobia of spiders, we continue to feel a phobic response to them when we see them or see signs of them.
The mind has a natural healing process when we suffer trauma in a similar way to how our body heals. If our body receives a cut, then over time it will heal and the more severe the cut the longer it takes. Using the car accident example, it’s normal for us to feel anxious and for us to avoid being in and around cars after an accident.
If we’re hurt in or were threatened with being hurt, our natural defence mechanisms will create emotions and behaviours to protect us from being in a situation where this can happen again. We often get over the initial shock within 72 hours and we begin to recover from the trauma after this. If we’re still experiencing symptoms for a significant time after (more than 9 months), then depending on the severity of the trauma, the trauma may be stuck.
When we have unprocessed traumas, they can often impede our lives. For example, feeling nervous about or not being able to get into a car means we may not apply for certain jobs, our social life may diminish and our is likely esteem to diminish as well as we notice others who drive, feel a desire to drive but feel that we can’t.
EMDR works on the basis that all our life experiences will enhance us and that we have the resources within us to get over anything that life presents to us. By using bi-lateral stimulation, where you’re asked to follow hand movements which makes your eyes move from side to side, this allows processing in your mind to allow you to feel a healthier response to the traumatic experience.
This eye-movement can be likened to REM sleep where our eyes move rapidly as we sleep deeply and process events and memories of the previous day(s).
Through 14 controlled studies, research has established that EMDR is effective for post traumatic stress disorders with reported decreases in symptoms of 70 to 90% of cases and making EMDR one of the most researched therapies for the treatment of trauma.
How it’s done
In the first session we’ll assess your needs and discuss how EMDR can work for You. We’ll discuss the nature of your trauma, what happened or aspects of what (if necessary and if you’re able to) and how it affects you in the hear and now.
EMDR works by activating both the right and left sides of the brain while recalling a traumatic event. This allows the memory to be reprocessed and the activation of the left and right sides of the brain is normally achieved through eye movement comfortable and would fit better with you. The stimulation of right and left side of the brain processes the memory and allows the unwanted and unrealistic emotion to be released.
Feel free to contact me if you would like any further information about EMDR, have any questions whatsoever or if you’d like to arrange an initial appointment.