Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based treatment for all types of trauma. It is a psychotherapy that enables you to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.
There is good evidence that EMDR is an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is recommended by the American Psychological Association (USA) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE, UK) as an effective treatment for PTSD.
EMDR can also be used very effectively for a wide range of other psychological difficulties, such as phobias, OCD, anxiety, panic, low self esteem, complicated grief, addiction and chronic pain.
For some people, when a traumatic disturbing life event happens to them, the memory of their experience comes crashing back into their mind, forcing them to relive the event with the same intensity of feeling as if it’s taking place in the present moment. These experiences may present as flashbacks or nightmares. These are said to occur because the mind was simply too overwhelmed during the event to process what was going on. As a result, these unprocessed memories and the accompanying sights, sounds, thoughts and feelings are stored in the brain in ‘raw’ form. Here, they can be accessed when something in everyday life triggers a recollection of the original event.
We are all different and manage life’s difficulties in our own ways. What works for one person may not work for another. However, the common aims of EMDR therapy include:
- Reduce re-experiencing trauma memories.
- Help you feel more able to cope with and manage trauma memories without needing to avoid potential triggers.
- Help you feel more able to engage in and enjoy pleasurable activities and relationships.
- Reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, irritation, anger and hyper-vigilance
- Help you deal with pressures and/or conflict and go about your daily life without feeling fearful and panicked.
- Reduce feelings of isolation, hopelessness and depression.
- Boost self-confidence and self-esteem.
We all have positive attributes we are not aware of previously, and we all have the capacity to change… EMDR can foster the resources you need within yourself to make the changes you want to make.