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Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing

What is Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing?

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy was developed for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on the basis that traumatic experiences are not always ‘processed’ or ‘stored’ correctly by the brain because of the impact and severity of the trauma.

Distressing nightmares are common, as is generally feeling on edge all the time and avoidance of certain activities. Often, over time, these symptoms reduce naturally as the brain tries to make sense of the traumatic events on its own accord. Sometimes however, we may need help from a therapy such as EMDR to be able to move on. EMDR can be offered over six-12 sessions but recovery may be achieved in as few as three sessions.

How does it work?

During an EMDR session, the therapist will encourage you to recall some, or all, aspects of the trauma you experienced whilst focusing on an exercise provided by the therapist. This technique allows the brain to make sense of different memories from the trauma and store these memories in a better way. The effect of this reduces the impact of the trauma and helps you to recover.

Is it effective?

This form of therapy is extremely well researched and has proven to be an essential method of reducing the effects of PTSD. In particular, recent research has shown that patients report EMDR as significantly more effective than other forms of therapy in the treatment of PTSD.