What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing therapy (EMDR) is evidence-based psychotherapy.

Evidence includes neuroscience and memory research in order to  explain the mechanics of the change that happens by just moving eyes side-to-side, tapping shoulders in a certain rhythm, or doing other things such as spelling words simultaneously while thinking about something that has negative impact and causes stress.

Research on memory and how memories are formed is the bases of the idea that some information is not processed properly and if the memory is brought to the short term memory (also called working memory) then it is possible to remove the emotional material from it, so it no longer causes distress and can be therefore seen as neutral. 

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  • Evidence based: Research evidence is used and combined from other disciplines to test and develop it further.
  • Goal oriented: Clear goals are set and therapy is ended when the goals are achieved.
  • Collaborative: The Therapist supports and helps to clarify the targets in therapy.
  • Problem Focused: A clear target is set to work on (this can be from past, present or even a total fabrication thought that causes fear).

Could I be re-traumatised?

Going through an episode of re-trauma is always a possibility, particularly where the range of triggers are deep. However, if the therapist is professionally trained you will be fine, your therapist is there to support you through your journey to recovery.

Do people feel worse after an EMDR session? 

It's normal to start feeling worse before noticing feeling better, it doesn't mean that the treatment does not work. If you feel better after the session, that's good however, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are getting better either. If you have concerns, talk to your therapist, and they will be able to explain why you feel the way you feel and most importantly, what to expect.

What happens in EMDR therapy?

If you don’t feel confident to start working on the issue, then your therapist will teach you coping skills first or use EMDR processing on the fear of the EMDR treatment. Then you will look at what you are going to work on followed by setting goals around what you would like to achieve. The processing stage is when you are asked to keep the stressing image in your mind and then memory taxing techniques are applied.

What to expect after and in between EMDR sessions? 

The most frequent sensations include being tired, a heavy head or buzzing sensation. Sometimes tension headaches can also be experienced. If you do experience these things, tell your therapist and they can help you. In between sessions, people usually report more of an effect 2 or 3 days after the session. This includes being emotional, potential new memories popping up, experience vivid dreams and nightmares. In some very severe cases you may experience tremors, weakness, and low moods. These sensations are due to the nature of the material that is processed in the session. In other words, the sensations come to the surface that have been hiding out of sight for years.  

How does it work?

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