Traumas and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
EMDR is an acronym for ‘Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing’. EMDR is a powerful psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.
Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.
When we first meet, we shall spend some time getting to know your history and prepare you before starting EMDR. This could take one, two or three sessions depending on your level of distress and your support system.
When a person is involved in a distressing event, they may feel overwhelmed and their brain may be unable to process the information like a normal memory. Sometimes the memories are so distressing, the person tries to avoid thinking about the distressing event to avoid experiencing the distressing feelings, sometimes the memories are triggered by sounds, images or situations out of the person’s control.
The alternating left-right stimulation of the brain with eye movements, sounds or taps during EMDR, seems to stimulate the frozen or blocked information processing system.
In the process the distressing memories seem to lose their intensity, so that the memories are less distressing and seem more like ‘ordinary’ memories. EMDR helps reduce the distress of all the different kinds of memories, whether it was what you saw, heard, smelt, tasted, felt or thought.
EMDR is not simply the use of eye movements. It is a comprehensive therapeutic approach with principles, protocols and procedures with the goal of reducing distress in the shortest period of time.
EMDR treatment generates a certain amount of ‘momentum’ to your thinking and conscious awareness. In other words, the treatment does not just stop immediately after your session. During your eye movement session, a lot of memories may come to mind and people find that after the session they may think about these memories.
If these memories are distressing, then for a day or two you may still feel distressed. During this time, it is recommended that you take care of yourself and use your relaxation technique to sooth yourself. It is recommended that you do not do anything too stressful straight after your EMDR session. Some people report that after the session they seem to recall more aspects of the events that they hadn’t thought about for a while.
As the distress decreases with EMDR, people report feeling a sense of relief. At the end of EMDR therapy, many people report feeling no distress at all when recalling the distressing event.