EMDR therapy is a recognised and effective treatment option for anxiety, PTSD and other conditions.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) was developed in the 1980’s by a psychologist who was interested in how our brains could be ‘reprogrammed’ to overcome distressing memories and thoughts.
EMDR therapy is recognised by many health care professionals (and the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) and World Health Organisation-(WHO)) as a successful and effective treatment option for PTSD.
EMDR is effective for treating psychological trauma arising from experiences as varied as war related experiences, childhood sexual and/or physical abuse or neglect, surgical trauma, natural disaster, road traffic accidents, assault, panic attacks, complicated grief, workplace accidents and personality disorders.
Dr Francine Shapiro, a psychologist, believed that traumatic memories could override our normal coping mechanisms, resulting in some people’s lives being ruined by distressing flashbacks, crippling anxiety and panic attacks and memories that were overwhelming.
Dr Jennifer Opoku - Doctorate, Msc, Bsc
EMDR is a psychological treatment designed specifically for working with the effects of psychological trauma. EMDR suggests that many psychological difficulties are the result of distressing life experiences that have not been processed or stored in memory properly.
Normally, memories are processed and integrated using the individual’s past experience of themselves and the world they live in. However, when you are involved in a distressing experience, you may feel overwhelmed and may be unable to process the information. The distressing memory becomes ‘frozen or stuck’ without you adequately processing it to an adaptive resolution and can continue to have a powerful influence on your life many years after the event.
When you try to recall the distressing memory, it can often trigger a re-experience of what you saw, smelt, tasted, heard, or felt (‘as if it’s happening now’). Sometimes, the memories are so distressing that you may avoid thinking about the event in order to avoid the distressing feeling.
EMDR stimulates the frozen or blocked memory/information processing system and it can help you to reduce the distress of all the different kinds of memories, whether it was what you saw, smelt, tasted, heard, or felt.
Shapiro went on to carry out much research into this area and developed a new way of treatment option – called EMDR.
I was a bit worried about starting EMDR and what to expect, but it has been completely transformational to my life. I have recommended so many of my friends to EMDR and to Clinical Partners.
EMDR therapy is a complex, integrated from of psychotherapy. There are many theories about how it works2, however, no one really knows precisely how eye movements achieves therapeutic effects.
There are several thoughts as to why it can be so effective for thousands of patients.
Whilst we do not know exactly how EMDR works, we do know that many patients find it hugely effective.
Many patients say they feel more in control of their emotions and better able to ‘master’ thoughts that have plagued, often for years, giving them a great deal of confidence.
The World Health Organisation says that EMDR therapy helps people to reduce vivid, unwanted, repeated collections of traumatic events. It is recommended by organisations like WHO as an effective treatment for trauma, anxiety and other conditions and is effective for children and adults alike.
For some who have tried a variety of other treatments but still feel ‘stuck’, EMDR can really help.
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