Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR is a multifaceted treatment used in conjunction with other modalities or as a stand alone treatment. EMDR was validated in 2005 by NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) as a treatment choice for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). It has since been developed to treat most other areas of emotional disturbance.

When a person is traumatised, the brain’s healing process may become overloaded or ‘stuck’, leaving the original disturbing experience ‘unprocessed’. These raw memories are stored in the brain and can continue to cause disturbance when perceived similar events are experienced. EMDR draws upon successful elements from a range of therapies and combines them with eye movements or other bilateral stimulation (gentle tapping or audio cues) so that the brain’s information processing system is stimulated. This enables the original trauma to be desensitised and reprocessed.

One theory underlying EMDR is that as REM (dream) sleep works to process the day’s events, eye movements during EMDR sessions do the same for traumatic memories and enables the brain to healthily process the experience.

A wealth of research has been conducted demonstrating the benefits of EMDR in treating psychological trauma.