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EMDR: 'Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing'


The effectiveness of EMDR has been validated by extensive research. It is recommended as trauma treatment of choice by NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence), which advises the NHS on evidence-based treatments.


When someone is involved in a distressing event, they may feel overwhelmed and their brain may be unable to process the information like a normal memory. The distressing memory seems to become frozen on a neurological level.


When they remember the event, they can re-experience what they saw, heard, smelt, tasted or felt, and this can be quite intense. Sometimes the memories are so distressing, the person tries to avoid thinking about the event to avoid experiencing theses feelings. Some people find that these memories are triggered by similar situations, or sometimes they just seem to pop into mind.


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. The distressing memories lose their intensity, so that they become less distressing and seem more like 'ordinary' memories. The effect is believed to be similar to that which occurs naturally during REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) when your eyes rapidly move from side to side. EMDR helps reduce the distress of all the different kinds of memories, whether it was what you saw, heard, smelt, tasted, felt or thought.



What can EMDR treat?


Most commonly EMDR is used to treat : 


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


Single Event Trauma:

  • Road Traffic Accidents

  • Violent Assault 

Complex Trauma:

  • Sexual Abuse

  • Bullying


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