EMDR in BathI trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) and qualified as a Practitioner in 2004-5 because I was impressed by the results shown in research studies for this procedure, especially in the relief of PTSD, and less complex traumatic conditions and anxiety states.
Now the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has nominated EMDR as one of the two psychological treatments of choice for trauma.
During my training, I discovered at first-hand the ability of EMDR to remove or reduce the "charge" attached to old distressing memories, and witnessed this happening to my fellow trainees, some of whom gained relief from personal traumatic memories that had not yielded to other methods of psychological help.
What happens in trauma?When we experience a traumatic event - which might be a serious road accident, bullying, physical or sexual assault, chronic abuse as a child, the witnessing of horrific scenes, or a natural trauma such as being stung by bees while being trapped in a train or terrified by lightning as a child - our primitive "fight or flight" response interferes with the more developed part of our brain which involves information processing. (The part of our brain which might be able to reason, explain and reassure).
So components of the traumatic event are stored as fragments of memories. These become "frozen" and are not integrated into the rest of the experience.
These fragments (behaviour, emotion, sensation, thoughts) are reactivated leading to re-experiencing (as opposed to remembering). This can be as distressing as the original event.
How does EMDR work?After a traumatic event, the distressing memory becomes blocked at a neurophysiological level.
EMDR - which consists of series of eye movements - loosens up the frozen memory networks and helps the information processing of the components of the distressing memory.
This re-configures or re-balances the neurophysiological state and the targeted memory is linked with more useful information allowing the patient to resolve and "file away" the distress and make changes to their lives.
Your treatmentAt the first Assessment session, I will take a detailed history of your life to date and administer a questionnaire to find out whether you are suitable for EMDR. If this treatment is appropriate for you, I will then answer any further questions you might have.
You will be given a handout detailing the treatment procedure and asked to sign a Consent Form.
EMDR is quite different from other kinds of talking therapy - you are in charge of the treatment, the therapist is facilitating it and there is minimal discussion of "what it all means". We are just assisting your brain to put things in the right archives so that they no longer dis-able you.
The treatment sessions are longer than the normal therapeutic hour or 50 minutes. Usually EMDR sessions will last 1hr.15 minutes to 1.hr.30 minutes.
The processing of a targeted memory may also continue between the sessions, while your brain continues "filing" to your "archives". For this reason, I am available by telephone to EMDR patients between sessions if the need arises to discuss developments.
After treatments targeting distressing memories, we can focus on a future template of you performing tasks or activities which at present feel beyond your capabilities.
EMDR is not just for the most distressing things in our lives; it is successfully used in performance enhancement and in countering low self-esteem.
IF you would like more information on EMDR or want to find out whether this treatment might help you, please contact me at any of the numbers in Contacting Me.