What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychological therapy that is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO) when considering treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Research also demonstrates that EMDR can be used to treat anxiety and low self-esteem.
WHO compiled a study across 21 countries in 2013 and reported that trauma from violence or the loss of a loved one was a common experience shared in people’s lives. In fact, 10% of respondents reported witnessing or experiencing violence or trauma and 3.6% of the world’s population had suffered PTSD in the past year (2012-2013).
22.214.171.124 All PTSD sufferers should be offered a course of trauma-focused psychological treatment (trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy or eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing). These treatments should normally be provided on an individual outpatient basis. NICE, 2005
How does it work?
EMDR encourages the mind to heal much like it would naturally during the rapid eye movement (REM) we experience when we sleep. By recreating the eye movements associated with REM sleep, it is possible to change the way our mind associates painful memories and present thoughts which are discussed. Related thoughts may also have a less negative impact on that person which can lead to an improved outlook and many other aspects, gaining quality of life.
What to expect during treatment:
Sessions with an EMDR practitioner will always start with an assessment to obtain the necessary information to ensure that it is the right therapy for the client. Thereafter, questions will be asked about a particular memory which is felt to be a route cause of PTSD or Anxiety. It is then you will be asked to watch the practitioner’s finger, to guide your eye movements for a short period of time and then report back with any thoughts, images or feelings. This will then be repeated and adapted, depending on the outcome of each session.
EMDR therapy could be a useful psychotherapy to treat trauma-associated symptoms in patients with comorbid psychiatric disorders. Preliminary evidence also suggests that EMDR therapy might be useful to improve psychotic or affective symptoms and could be an add-on treatment in chronic pain conditions. Valiente-Gomez, 2017 (research cited by NICE)
Sessions can last between 60 and 90 minutes and you are always in control of the session with the option to stop at any time.
EMDR tends to be a faster therapy in respect to achieving results but it is always important to note that it can come with a more intense experience which may lead to strong emotional responses and disturbing thoughts. However, your practitioner is there to help you and will support you through any negative experiences. Ultimately, it is part of the process of improved thoughts and wellbeing.
Like CBT with a trauma focus, EMDR therapy aims to reduce subjective distress and strengthen adaptive cognitions related to the traumatic event. Unlike CBT with a trauma focus, EMDR does not involve (a) detailed descriptions of the event, (b) direct challenging of beliefs, (c) extended exposure, or (d) homework. WHO, 2013
Who provides EMDR at Woolpit Complementary?
Tina Penistone is a CBT and EMDR practitioner here and is able to see anyone from the age of 18 and above.
If you’d like to know more, you can contact us on 01359 408 011 or speak to Tina directly on 07843 014 952. You can also click here to see Tina’s profile page.