Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)

What is EMDR?
EMDR is an integrative psychotherapeutic approach that has been shown to be effective in the treatment of trauma including severe trauma and attachment related trauma. EMDR focuses on relieving distressing memories that have not been processed correctly. Traumas can include traffic accidents, loss of a loved one, physical assaults, rape, accidents, witnessing violence, terrorism, being given a medical diagnosis, repeated mini traumas such as being criticised by family or boss, being hit by parents or witnessing loved ones being abused verbally or physically. Often people are unaware that they have in fact experienced trauma. Their anxiety, depression or addictive behaviour may lead them into therapy which can reveal the root cause of their pain that has led to their addictions (overeating, alcohol, gambling, drugs, sex, internet/TV) and anxieties etc.

What does EMDR do?
EMDR helps people reprocess information regarding the trauma as well as somatic experiences surrounding the trauma. It helps to address behaviours, thoughts and feelings such as addictions, catastrophic thinking and feelings of anxiety by coming replaying and reprocessing the trauma whilst moving eyes from left to right (as in REM sleep).

Do I have to tell the therapist about the trauma?
No, EMDR does not require you to go into detail about distressing or disturbing memories from the past. EMDR is usually combined with talking therapy but this is not essential if a person is uncomfortable talking about the trauma. It is an effective, standalone therapy that can desensitize and reprocess memories that have become ‘stuck’ and painful allowing the person to move forward with their life.

How many EMDR sessions are required?
The number of sessions vary according to the complexity of the issues being dealt with and how each session progresses. Some people find relief after just one or two sessions. Others find that they need further sessions to reach a state of peacefulness when they think of the traumatic event(s).

Does it work?
Yes, for most people EMDR works very well. There are a small number of people for whom it may not work so well but this is usually established prior to the start of therapy. For example someone who experiences paranoia may find it too difficult to trust the therapy or someone who has learning difficulties might find it too tricky to follow the instructions.
EMDR is supported by the World Health Organisation as an effective treatment intervention for adults and children with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
EMDR is also viewed as an effective therapy and is supported by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).

What else can I do for trauma/ anxiety?
There are many therapy approaches that can assist with anxiety and trauma. For example CBT, mindfulness, meditation, talking therapies and somatic experiencing work. Some people find help with art therapy, massage and group therapies.

If I open up a trauma will it make it worse?
This is not the way traumas work. Usually sharing the traumatic experience and applying EMDR will have the opposite effect and usually within a relatively short time.

It is my own experience that talking about the traumatic experience/s can develop a great deal of understanding of the events and even forgiveness (or self forgiveness) and compassion for the perpetrator of the events. However, deep relief requires a shifting of the bodily held memories at a feeling level and because of this words sometimes fall short in making a difference. EMDR seems to allow the traumatic experience to process within the body (as if in a dream) and become changed and ‘neutralised’ so that it doesn’t provoke anxiety or addictive behaviour as it may have done before.

If you are interested in seeing Lucie to explore whether EMDR might be suitable for you then contact her at lucieaw@yahoo.co.uk or 00 44 7971227338. Currently she is offerring EMDR therapy through Zoom online as well as some in person sessions when that is permitted.