What is EMDR?
EMDR utilises the natural healing ability of your body. It 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 emotion attached to it to be released. The activation of the left and right sides of the brain is normally achieved through eye movement.
What will happen in the sessions?
After a thorough assessment, you will be asked specific questions about a particular disturbing memory. Eye movements, similar to those during REM sleep, will be recreated simply by asking you to watch a stimulus moving backwards and forwards across your visual field. Sometimes, audio or touch stimulation is used instead. The eye movements will last for a short while and then stop. You will then be asked to report back on the experiences you have had during each of these sets of eye movements. Experiences during a session may include changes in thoughts, images and feelings. With repeated sets of eye movements, the memory tends to change in such a way that it loses its painful intensity and simply becomes a neutral memory of an event in the past. Other associated memories may also heal at the same time. This linking of related memories can lead to a dramatic and rapid improvement in many aspects of your life.
Will I remain in control and empowered?
During EMDR treatment, you will remain in control, fully alert and wide awake. This is not a form of hypnosis and you can stop the process at any time. Throughout the session, the therapist will support and facilitate your own self healing and intervene as little as possible.
Reprocessing is usually experienced as something that happens spontaneously, and new connections and insights are felt to arise quite naturally from within. As a result, most people experience EMDR as being a natural and very empowering therapy.
What evidence is there that EMDR is a successful treatment?
EMDR is an innovative clinical treatment which has successfully helped over a million individuals. The validity and reliability of EMDR has been established by rigorous research. There are now nineteen controlled studies into EMDR making it the most thoroughly researched method used in the treatment of trauma. Details are on the EMDR Europe website and the EMDR association website. EMDR therapy is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as an effective treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).