Compared to traditional forms of therapy EMDR has proven to be extremely effective in treating even the most difficult and entrenched issues in a short space of time- meaning less cost for you. Many people also find EMDR easier to benefit from in that it doesn’t require you to think consciously or to do the thinking ‘work’ needed with other therapies. Most importantly EMDR treatment has much less chance of issues or problems returning in your future after treatment has ended. In fact, many people say they can feel EMDR’s positive change happening long after therapy has ended. Your brain will continue to make new neural pathways that are beneficial for you living your life free from trauma, negative feelings and difficulty.
What is EMDR and how does it work?
The mind can heal itself naturally just like our bodies can and EMDR utilises this natural healing. Much of this natural healing process and coping mechanisms occurs during sleep, particularly during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and EMDR can use this to successfully treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and many other types of trauma effectively, including a very wide range of mental and emotional health problems. Most of the time your body routinely manages and processes new information and thousands of bits of information and experiences without you being aware of it. EMDR involves bilateral stimulation of the two hemispheres of your brain using sound, vibration or a bar of moving light to stimulate the ‘information processing system’ to go into a highly-accelerated mode of functioning. Research has shown that traumatic memories are primarily stored in the right hemisphere of the brain, where they do not have access to networks in the left hemisphere. The left hemisphere, however, contains important thoughts and awareness that could relieve distress if a connection be made between the hemispheres. EMDR therapy creates this connection by stimulating both hemispheres simultaneously — restoring the brain’s natural healing processes. EMDR helps people become unstuck and renders traumatic memories manageable.
Distressing, disturbing or unwanted memories tend to change in such a way that they lose their painful intensity and simply become a neutral memory of an event or experience in the past. Other associated memories may also heal at the same time and this linking of related memories can sometimes lead to a dramatic recovery.
‘Changing the memories that form the way we see ourselves also changes the way we view others. Therefore, our relationships, job performance, what we are willing to do, all moves in a positive direction.’ Francine Shapiro, Getting Past your Past.
EMDR offers a much deeper way to change your limiting paradigms from its roots towards a more sustained personal growth. Personal development is a great philosophy, in which I believe in strongly.
EMDR can be used with an individual or with a couple. We can use EMDR interspersed with counselling or psychotherapy if this would suit you or help in your process of healing. Create the life you’ve always wanted or known was possible. A brighter future with you reaching more of your potential. I have been especially inspired by the use of EMDR when working with entrenched and paralyzing negative cognitions and traumas. This method allows for change when change seemed impossible, thus giving you hope, sometimes for the first time. I specialize in helping people to overcome the effects of trauma, including childhood trauma, such as abuse and neglect or growing up in a family with problems such as substance abuse, violence, and other problems. These issues can affect a person’s self-esteem and ability to form healthy relationships, and can stand in the way of forming a positive and happy life.
Trauma, large and small actually, gets encoded into your DNA and causes post-traumatic stress reactions. Traumatized individuals can often identify “where” in the body they feel distress, such as a “heavy heart” or “clenched jaw”. They also report being “triggered” unexpectedly and often feel like the trauma is happening in the present, despite how much time has gone by since the event(s).
‘We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are’ Anais Nin.
Negative thinking is mostly caused by the first time we experience something when our brain creates a schema or template of that experience and filters all related experiences that follow in our lives everyday through that template. If our first experience is negative or unhealthy this will automatically cause every following experience to be filtered through in an unhealthy way.
‘We tend to repeat anything we don’t repair’
EMDR is very effective for changing emotional reactions, negative thought patterns and entrenched habits (even physical discomfort) that people can’t change by will alone. EMDR has given us the amazing ability to change our brains, body and nervous systems.
‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.’ Marcel Proust.
The end result of EMDR is to eliminate and reduce negative thoughts and feelings and to increase and strengthen positive thoughts and feelings so you can be at your best in your everyday life and relationships. It teaches the ability to stay with uncomfortable feelings and emotions so they can resolve and integrate. By gaining a larger awareness and reducing suffering from experiences of the past, you’re able to make more choices and decisions that are beneficial to you.
How many sessions will I need?
There is a good deal of variety in timing. EMDR often accelerates the treatment process. Some people choose to target very specific issues and only want short-term therapy, while others are more interested in a deeper self-exploration and growth. From my point of view you can take as much time as you feel you need.
PSTD related symptoms from a single traumatic incident in someone’s life can often be resolved in a short series of sessions. This includes sessions for assessment/history taking, treatment planning, preparation and re-evaluation. Treatment for people with multiple traumas will take longer and will be evaluated in your assessment session. People with prolonged trauma such as persistent childhood abuse or neglect also benefit from psychotherapy with EMDR but to achieve comprehensive all round improvements longer treatment will be needed. I can perhaps give you an estimate of the length of treatment needed after the first two assessment sessions.
EMDR can help with things such as;
Anxiety and panic, complex bereavement, bullying, phobias, addictions, relationship and sexual difficulties, fear of public speaking, creative blocks and confidence issues in performance in work and other roles. Consider EMDR therapy if you feel blocked in traditional therapy, you suffered a trauma such as: an accident, a rape, sexual abuse, child abuse, physical abuse, an assault, or a pattern of unsuccessful relationships, divorce, a termination….the list is pretty endless.
EMDR was used extensively to treat survivors in the aftermath of the Oklahoma Bombing and in New York after 9/11. It is used extensively by governments and therapists around the world as one of the primary therapies used with populations after natural disasters and war etc.
E.M.D.R. is endorsed by The American Psychiatric Association (A.P.A.), The Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) and the Department of Defence (D.O.D.). The V.A. and D.O.D. “strongly recommend” EDMR for the treatment of PTSD in both military and non-military populations. EMDR is part of the NICE guidelines used by the NHS and The Department of Health as effective treatment for trauma.