Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing – A therapy used to help people recover from distressing events and the problems they have caused, like flashbacks, upsetting thoughts or images, depression or anxiety.
EMDR is recognised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
In addition to processing specific trauma memories EMDR therapy can be used to work through a wide range of issues including anxiety, panic, depression, pain, phobias, stress, low self-esteem and performance anxiety.
EMDR therapy is underpinned by the adaptive information processing (AIP) model formulated by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 2001. This states that when someone experiences a traumatic event, this memory is stored in a different way to other memories and is not integrated into existing memory networks.
These “unprocessed” memories then cause problems such as flashbacks and intrusive thoughts. The unprocessed memories can remain distressing for years after the events have ended. EMDR therapy works by processing those memories, enabling them to be encoded in the same way as any other memory and allowing more adaptive memory networks to link to the trauma memories.
(Fisher, N. – Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, V. 15(1) 2021)
Sessions may be a mix of counselling and EMDR processing and generally will last up to 60 minutes, however it can be beneficial for EMDR processing sessions to be extended to 90 minutes, if so, this will be arranged and scheduled ahead of the session. Payment of £40/60 min or £60/90 min is due at or before each session and is payable by cash or BACS.
Trauma is a fact of life. It does not, however, have to be a life sentence. ― Peter Levine
What we happen in the sessions? EMDR therapy is broken down into eight different phases, so you’ll need to attend multiple sessions. Treatment may take 12 or more separate sessions depending on the nature of the processing.
Phase 1: History and treatment planning
We will first review your history and decide where you are in the treatment process. This evaluation phase also includes talking about your trauma and identifying potential traumatic memories to process specifically.
Phase 2: Preparation
We will then introduce several different ways to cope with the emotional or psychological stress you’re experiencing. Stress management and self-soothing techniques such as deep breathing, creative visualisation and mindfulness may be used.
Phase 3: Assessment
During the third phase of EMDR treatment, we will identify the specific memories that will be targeted and the associated components, the physical sensations, thoughts and emotions that are stimulated when you concentrate on the event/memory.
Phases 4-7: Treatment
We will then begin using EMDR therapy techniques to process your targeted memories. During these sessions, you will be asked to focus on a negative thought, memory, or image. We will one or more types of bilateral stimulation, including specific eye movements, taps or other movements based on what you find most suitable and helpful. After each bilateral stimulation I will ask you to notice and very briefly describe the thoughts and feelings you’re having spontaneously. Over time, the distress over particular thoughts, images, or memories can start to fade. This may take multiple sessions to feel complete so part of our process will include bringing each individual session to a relaxed close.
Phase 8: Evaluation
At the beginning of the subsequent session we will review what may have come up between sessions and evaluate how the previously targeted memory is impacting you now