EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing)

EMDR is a powerful psychological treatment method that was developed by an American clinical psychologist, Dr Francine Shapiro, in the 1980s. As a Senior Research Fellow at the Mental Research Institute (in Palo Alto, USA), she published the first research data to support the benefits of the therapy in the 1989.

Since then a wealth of research has been conducted demonstrating its benefits in treating psychological trauma arising from experiences as diverse as war related experiences, childhood sexual and/or physical abuse or neglect, natural disaster, assault, surgical trauma, road traffic accidents and workplace accidents. Since its original development, EMDR is also increasingly used to help individuals with other issues and performance anxiety. EMDR has been found to be of benefit to children as well as adults. EMDR is a complex and powerful therapy that produces profound and permanent changes.

I am an EMDR Europe Approved Consultant and I have undertaken the child training in EMDR and am qualified to use this therapy with children and adolescents.

I use EMDR extensively, not only to heal trauma, but to help with such problems as phobias, general anxiety, depression, eating disorders and performance enhancement.

EMDR is sometimes referred to as a ‘power therapy’. It has taken a long time to be accepted by the establishment but is now recommended as one of the main treatment techniques for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, its use has not stopped at PTSD. There is encouraging research that suggests that EMDR can be a successful treatment for a wide variety of human conditions.

So how does EMDR work?

During an EMDR session I ask the client to focus on a traumatic event, the negative cognition (Belief or thought) associated with it, and emotions and bodily sensations connected with the incident. In EMDR, all dimensions of the memory-the image, the thoughts, the emotion, and the body sensations-are accessed while the client focuses on a dual attention bilateral stimulation; with either eye movements (client's eyes following my moving finger back and forth across their field of vision), auditory tones (listening to an specially designed audio with headphones to alternating sounds in each ear), or tapping (by alternating tapping usually on the client's hands which are placed on their knees), while at the same time paying attention to the memory. The client then free associates according to structured protocols in order to elicit information. Clients are then able to process painful memories and integrate new information, and this allows healing to occur.

EMDR as an effective treatment for trauma is based on the adaptive information process model, which posits that new experiences are linked with similar ones within the memory network as associations in order to make sense of the information. However, in traumatic experiences, intense emotion can occur and the experience may be isolated with the thoughts, emotions, and sensations "locked" into the memory network. Later similar experiences may then activate this material (Shapiro, 2001, 2002). The exact mechanism of action in EMDR is unclear but it is thought that the dual attention, while focusing on the traumatic memory, facilitates  connection between the right and the left hemisphere of the , thus disrupting the traumatic memory network and facilitates information processing of the dysfunctionally stored information/memory. Dual attention refers to the client paying attention to the external cue (eye movements, tapping, or sounds) and at the same time remembering the trauma. The accessing of adaptive information and the integration of memory networks has been linked to the processes of REM sleep and there is some support for this explanation.

EMDR can also be used in the context of many other treatment approaches. I integrate EMDR with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and this produces some astounding results with most of my clients.  Recent research suggests that trauma is a right brain phenomenon and most psychotherapy is largely a left brain endeavour; thus, there may be significant areas that are not accessible with talking therapy only. The bilateral stimulation inherent in EMDR may assist in reconnecting these neural pathways that have been dissociated from each other.

I am an EMDR Europe Approved Consultant which is your guarantee of the highest professional standard of EMDR therapy