eye movement desensitisation and reprogramming (emdr)
EMDR is a form of psychotherapy that was first developed by the American psychologist and educator Francine Shapiro. It was established in the late 1980s, after she first noticed that certain eye movements had the effect of reducing the intensity of disturbing thoughts. She found that bringing one’s eye movements under voluntary control, while thinking about the traumatic thought or idea, could serve to reduce feelings of anxiety associated with that thought or idea.
Her theory has it that the thoughts, feelings and memories you hold about a traumatic event, can have become “stuck” - a development which may have made it difficult for you to move on from that particular experience. Should this be the case, the bilateral stimulation of EMDR could serve to facilitate your brain’s own natural ability to process such unresolved memories. Treatment involves an eight-phase protocol, which reduces their influence on you, and then enables you to develop more effective ways to carry on with your life.
EMDR is a particularly useful tool for the treatment of people who may have some difficulty in talking about their experiences. It is generally regarded as being safe, even though it may initially serve to trigger some strong emotions in you. Should intense feelings arrise, you can be reassured by the realisation that they are almost certainly caused by the shifting of harmless “old stuff”, which has previously been “stuck” and been holding you back. Such discomfort is simply a part of the powerful desensitising and reprogramming process, and is likely to soon pass.
From the start, EMDR was used to resolve the symptoms of disturbing life experiences and trauma, including those that may have come with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Over the years, various studies have confirmed the treatment’s efficacy and today, EMDR has come to be officially recognised by a number of influential professional organisations around the world as being an effective treatment for trauma. Its applications have further been widen to include the treatment of a number of other conditions, including panic attacks, eating disorders, addictions and anxiety. It is also now used for work with children.
Back to top
Read a bit more about me and my approach to the work I do
Return to the section on other disciplines
Return to homepage
- therapist - coach - mentor -
HENDON - LONDON - NW4 - TEL: 020 7112 8272
“If you’re reading these words, perhaps it’s because something has kicked open the door for you, and you’re ready to embrace change. It isn’t enough to appreciate change from afar, or only in the abstract, or as something that can happen to other people but not to you. We need to create change for ourselves, in a workable way, as part of our everyday lives.”
The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Programme for Real Happiness