EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) is a powerful and relatively new form of psychotherapy. It uses eye movements and other stimuli to facilitate rapid processing of traumatic or upsetting past events.
It was developed in 1987 by psychologist Francine Shapiro. It was originally used to help people deal with experiences that had caused severe emotional trauma, such as those experienced in war zone or disaster areas.
Since then, numerous studies have demonstrated not only that EMDR is safe and works well in all traumatic or upsetting past events including the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but that it can be very effective in the treatment of other conditions such as anxiety, phobias, panic disorders, depression, sexual abuse, work related problems and low self-esteem.
Although EMDR can treat trauma in a few short sessions sometimes the length of the treatment totally depends on the patient, their situation and their history.
I may use EMDR as a treatment on its own or in combination with hypnotherapy and other therapeutic approaches.
How does EMDR work?
It is not clear how Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing actually works. It appears that the EMDR methodology works as a form of Adaptive Information Processing (AIP). As such, it seems to unblock the process of reintegrating dissociated material and thus allowing appropriate processing of painful perceptions, emotions, beliefs and meaning that became locked at the time of the traumatic event. As neuroscientists continue to learn more about the brain using new and more sophisticated methods, we may gain a deeper understanding of how the brain and EMDR works.
It is important to understand that EMDR is not merely a technique using eye movements, but a complex, integrative method that utilises very precise protocols. Nor is it a “miracle cure” as some have been led to believe. Most long term problems are not cured in three sessions, however treatment is generally much shorter than traditional talk therapies.
- Severe cardiac or respiratory problems
- Severe dissociative disorders (for example schizophrenia)
- Alcohol and drug abuse