EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
What is EMDR?
EMDR is a relatively new form of therapy which was conceived and developed by Doctor Francine Shapiro in 1987 and is considered a ground-breaking treatment for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and more recently to treat symptoms that are not related to PTSD but may be considered trauma with a ‘small t.’
Many of us believe that trauma is only about big events such as surviving natural disasters, war, torture. However a trauma is any event that has a lasting negative effect on us i.e. loss of a loved one, loss of a job, humiliation, being bullied, or a sense of failure. The resulting anxiety, stress, fear are very damaging if they continue for a long time.
The EMDR approach to therapy suggests that memory networks are fundamental to mental health. Most of our life experiences are processed by the mind’s processing system so that they connect to more helpful information which we can learn from. These processed memories don’t disturb us. However memories of traumatic events become ‘frozen’ in the brain with all the thoughts, feelings, sensations and beliefs of the event. Because these memories are not able to connect with other more helpful information they remain isolated from other life experiences in the memory network. Often the memory itself is long forgotten but the residual emotion anxiety, fear, anger, panic tends to control our daily lives by distorting our perception of the present. This is where EMDR comes in.
EMDR therapy is guided by the Adaptive Information Processing model which identifies negative life experiences that have become ‘stuck’ in the brain. Bi-lateral stimulation (eye movements, taps or tones) help the connections between the brain’s memory networks and enables the brain process the traumatic memory in a natural way. Thus they become more like ‘ordinary memories’
The eight phases of the EMDR process focusses on the Past, Present and Future.
Phase 1 deals with the client’s history and how the past may impact on the present.
Phase 2 is about stabilization, resource building skills and the calm/safe place exercise.
Phases 3-8 involves selecting the specific targets for treatment, the reprocessing of the chosen target using bilateral stimulation, called desensitization. The reprocessed disturbing memories now link to existing positive memory networks. The installation of positive self-belief statements, again using bilateral stimulation, is followed by a body scan to ensure there are no residual symptoms .At the start of each session there is a short re-evaluation of the previous session. Phases 3-8 are repeated until all negative symptoms have reduced and the client has achieved a desired treatment goal.
Phase 8 is also about the installation of future templates – the client now develops ways of dealing with similar situations in the future.
What are the advantages of EMDR Therapy?
The positive, long-term results of EMDR therapy affect all levels of the client's well-being -- mental, emotional and physical, so that their responses return to normalcy and health. The memory remains but the negative response is neutralized. Extensive scientific research studies show that EMDR is the most effective and rapid method for healing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and can bring quick and lasting relief for most types of emotional distress.
Conditions that respond well to EMDR therapy:
* Trauma (severe accidents; attacks (physically or verbally))
* Chronic pain
* Unresolved Grief
* Fear of success/performance anxiety
* Low self-esteem
* Panic attacks and anxiety
* Relationship issues.
If you would like to work with an EMDR trained therapist contact Barbara McWilliams @ [email protected] or contact the Gables on 0876598487