EMDR Therapy (which stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) is a specific therapeutic approach to help people understand how their brains processes information and makes sense of experiences, which can help to shape their behaviours, thoughts and feelings in a more positive way. Past difficult situations can be processed so the client is better able to understand their impact on current behaviours, in turn allowing for better understanding to be made and hence better choices in the future a real possibility.
This therapy is very well thought of and in 2013, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended it as one of two preferred treatment options for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). EMDR is based on the notion that we hold information in linked groups of associations throughout the brain. Our experiences and therefore memories often have many different components, like images, emotions, thoughts and beliefs but also bodily sensations. So, by dealing with a difficult event or memory using EMDR Therapy, the distressing aspects of that memory, which have felt stuck and haven’t made sense, are freed up and therefore can lead to a new more positive adapted understanding coming from your own natural information processing system. Negative thoughts or feelings or problematic behaviours can be the brains way of dealing with an underlying issue, where the messages may have gone a bit haywire! EMDR increases the person’s ability to make sense of and therefore change their current negative patterns.
So, what actually happens? With the help and support of the therapist, the client is guided through some effective techniques they can use giving them a different more positive way of thinking or feeling. The more times you experience making better choices, you are actually rewiring your brain for the better, making positive neural pathways. This makes you feel more resilient and in turn you are able to make a conscious choice about your behaviours. The therapist enables the client to ‘turn down’ the emotional sensitivity within the brain during EMDR so that remembering a difficult experience, or worrying about an upcoming event is no longer emotionally disturbing and therefore, the logical, thinking part of the brain can be accessed to make sense of what previously felt overwhelming.
Here are a couple of links that help explain how EMDR Therapy works:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J77BfkvJSJ4 (explanation of trauma and EMDR Therapy)
Please contact me to discuss any questions you may have about EMDR Therapy .