EMDR Therapy in Reading

What can EMDR help with?

EMDR can help with many different symptoms.

EMDR was originally developed for helping the symptoms of PTSD and mental trauma. Since then this wonderfully simple technique has been found to also be effective in helping people with a wide range of other symptoms including anxiety, pain, phobias and addictions.

So what is EMDR and how does it work?

What does EMDR stands for?

EMDR stands for the less than succinct phrase Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. 

Although the phrase is a bit of a mouthful EMDR does do what it says on the tin – once you manage to  decipher just what the words on the tin mean that is!

The D of EMDR is for Desensitisation

The Desensitisation part means that using EMDR we become less triggered, less sensitive to whatever is bothering us be that reliving bad events, feeling the urges that come with an addiction or how our chronic pain feels.

The R of EMDR is for Reprocessing

The Reprocessing part is about allowing the mind to re-process events, memories or associations in a way it hasn’t had the opportunity to do before. We sometimes use the phrase “I haven’t managed processed that yet” or “I never did have the chance to process what happened”. EMDR enables us to do that processing with a safe, controlled way.

The curious thing is we don’t need to be able to consciously remember the events that led to our current feelings. Sometimes they are there in front of our eyes, other times we are only left with the feelings they created. And in the case where there is no obvious event to focus on we just focus on the feelings, we don't need to know where they came from.

These feelings give us a way in to the memory networks where the processing needs to take place.

And the EM of EMDR is for Eye Movements

The eye movements is the way we do the Desensitisation and Reprocessing. In simple terms it involves:

  • The client focusing on specific feelings, images or thoughts related to the problem they have come for help with
  • The therapist moving their fingers backwards and forwards from left to right in front of the client
  • The client moving their eyes to keep track of the therapist's fingers
  • These eye movements, done at the right speed and for the right number of repetitions whilst the client focuses on those feelings, is what stimulates the Reprocessing and Desensitisation.

How does EMDR work?

Research is still ongoing as to exactly what is happening when we do EMDR and how it manages to help.

What seems to happen is that the movement of the eyes from left to right (called bilateral stimulation), whilst focusing on the negative feelings you are getting, enables the memory networks linked to those feelings to be accessed. Once accessed your mind can process them safely, which in turn enables the memories to just settle and become part of your life's narrative. As part of your narrative you can access them, just like your other memories, but the negative feelings, thoughts and images are no longer forced upon you.

If you have an addiction, to alcohol or cannabis for example, EMDR can help reduce your urges. We do this by identifying and tackling the triggers that lead to your urges.  If you have physical pain, EMDR for pain can help reduce the physical pain you're experiencing.

Please do contact me to find out how I can help you with EMDR.