Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, developed by Francine Shapiro, is a highly transformative, evidence based psychotherapy that has been proven to help people recover from trauma and distressing experiences in their life. Extensive research on the EMDR method shows that it can expedite the recovery process compared to other psychotherapies and is applicable to children and adults of all ages.
The effectiveness of EMDR as a therapeutic treatment is also recognised by numerous global organisations such as the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, the UK’s National Institute of Health Care and Excellence and the World Health Organisation.
EMDR therapy is widely endorsed as one of the best treatments for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and can also be used for a wide range of mental health issues including:
- PTSD and other trauma and stress-related issues
- Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias
- Chronic Illness and medical issues
- Depression and bipolar disorders
- Dissociative disorders
- Eating disorders
- Grief and loss
- Performance anxiety
- Personality disorders
- Sexual assault
- Sleep disturbance
- Substance abuse and addiction
- Violence and abuse
Impact of Trauma
Trauma is any negative experience that is “wounding”. It can be caused by a single life threatening event like a car accident, the witnessing of a frightful event like seeing the destruction caused by a natural disaster or repeated instances of hurtful experiences like emotional neglect from a parent. Sometimes trauma can lead to dysfunctions in behaviours, emotion regulation, interpersonal exchanges and self esteem. Experiencing trauma especially in early childhood can increase vulnerability to developing mental and physical illness.
How EMDR Therapy Works
Just like our physical bodies have natural healing processes that can return us to good health, so does our mind. In EMDR therapy, through a series of questions and the application of Bilateral Stimulus (in the form of eye movements, auditory or tactile sensations) a person can access their traumatic memory networks, information processing is enhanced, new interpretations and cognitive insights are formed. Emotional distress can be eliminated, new adaptive responses can be established and a person can change the meaning of old painful events on an emotional level.
EMDR sessions usually last 60-90 minutes and the treatment targets past events that may have formed the basis of dysfunction, current events and triggers that are distressing or linked to the dysfunction and possible future situations where a person may apply the new skills for adaptive functioning.