Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a form of psychotherapy developed by Dr Francine Shapiro in the 1990s based on a theory about how our brains process information.  EMDR concerns itself with how we feel and react in the present to something which happened in the past when we do not want the reaction to keep happening in the future.

Because there is now a growing body of research evidence about its effectiveness, EMDR is now a widely recommended treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  In my client work I have also found it is useful when clients are feeling stuck with emotions, behaviours and thoughts that they are unable to change, where these are being fed by events from the past.  When you are experiencing distress now because of something that has happened in the past, and your memory of it is vivid and intrusive, it means that at the time the event happened it was overwhelming and your brain has not been able to process it and turn it into a memory that fades with time.

EMDR makes use of the brain's natural tendency to heal itself by turning disturbing material into healthy material.  This is called Adaptive Information Processing.  Research has shown that when a client has one foot in the past and one foot in the present (metaphorically), this stimulates the processing of memories.  The dual attention on the past and present in EMDR kick starts natural processing that the brain does under normal circumstances, changing the client's response to the memories so that they are no longer disturbing.

Your safety, readiness and current ways of coping are the first things that I will explore with you when you are considering EMDR.  I will work with you to take a thorough history, focusing on the main highs and lows in your life so that we can work out what we need to target with EMDR.  I will prepare you for EMDR at the pace that is right for you, taking into account whether now is the right time for you to do this work if there are any health concerns, whether you are having a difficult time currently, and whether you struggle to stay in the moment when things are upsetting.  EDMR can be challenging, sometimes clients feel worse before they feel better, your well-being is my priority.

EMDR processing involves me helping you to access the memory we are targeting, and then stimulating your brain using either eye movements or tapping alternatively on each side of your body (hands or knees).  We wil work out what the right order is for addressing your memories based on the way memories collect in themes, giving you the best possible outcome in the most efficient way.

This information is a very short overview of EMDR, for more information about how it might work for you, please get in touch.