EMDR : Eye Movement Desensitisation and reprocessing, is a highly effective and efficient type of psychotherapy that helps people work through and process
disturbing thoughts, feelings, and memories. It is commonly used in the treatment of Panic Attacks, Post-traumatic Stress, and Phobias. It is one of the most
significant breakthroughs in the treatment of anxiety-related problems.
EMDR is based on the idea that emotional pain and trauma require time to heal the same way physical pain and trauma do. In situations where our
information processing system is blocked or imbalanced, it is much harder for our emotional wounds to heal which often leads to intense
psychological suffering. EMDR works to activate our natural healing processes, remove these blocks, and encourage healing.
How does EMDR work?
During EMDR, the client is guided to deliberately bring into conscious awareness, the sensory memory, thoughts, and accompanying emotions and bodily sensations. Through the therapeutic process, clients are given tools and foundations to observe and feel safe to connect and experience the emotions and body sensations that accompanying the recall of a distressing memory and associated thoughts.
Then, by following the moving fingers of the therapist, the client’s eyes move rapidly for a brief period, around 30 seconds. This produces a pattern of electrical activity in the brain which causes the stored trauma memory to quickly change. During the eye movement, the therapist does not talk or offer suggestions, and the client does not try to change any aspect of the memory. Instead, the client is asked to just notice the experience. At the end of each set of eye movements, the client reports back their present experience and what they are observing. It may be that the sensory memory becomes less detailed or less vivid, and clients often report that the memory has become quite distant. This process is repeated.
Once the trauma memory no longer triggers feelings of distress, the client is asked to associate a more useful thought to the now, more distant trauma memory, and further sets of eye movements follow. The EMDR process is complete when the new perspective feels true, even when the old memory is recalled. This entire process may take as little as ten minutes, or as long as a full session. Where there are several different experiences underlying the client’s difficulties, it may take several sessions to fully resolve them.
What is trauma?
A traumatic event consists of three components