Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an extensively researched and recognised psychotherapy approach primarily used to treat trauma-related disorders, alongside post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It was developed by psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s and has gained widespread acceptance among mental health professionals.
EMDR has also been mentioned in the media. Prince Harry has been an advocate for mental health awareness and undergone EMDR to deal with his own struggles with mental health issues following the death of his mother, Princess Diana. He, along with his brother Prince William and his wife Meghan Markle, has been actively involved in campaigns to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and promote open conversations about mental well-being.
The key elements and principles of EMDR therapy for treating trauma and PTSD:
1. Trauma Processing: EMDR focuses on the idea that traumatic experiences can overwhelm the brain’s normal coping mechanisms, leading to the “stuck” processing of memories. This can result in ongoing distress, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and emotional disturbance.
2. Bilateral Stimulation: A distinctive aspect of EMDR involves bilateral stimulation of the brain, typically achieved through the therapist guiding the patient’s eye movements, taps, or auditory cues. This bilateral stimulation is believed to help the brain reprocess traumatic memories, allowing them to be integrated into less distressing forms.
3. Phases of Treatment: EMDR therapy typically follows a structured, eight-phase approach, including history-taking, preparation, assessment, desensitisation, installation, body scan, closure, and reevaluation. The therapist guides the client through these phases, ensuring safety and stability throughout the process.
4. Dual Awareness: EMDR therapy encourages a state of “dual awareness” where the individual remains aware of both the traumatic memory being processed and their present environment, ensuring they feel safe and grounded during the therapeutic session.
5. Adaptability: EMDR can be adapted to suit the individual needs and experiences of each client. It’s not solely reliant on talking about the trauma but includes various techniques to aid in the processing of distressing memories.
6. Efficacy: Research has shown EMDR therapy to be highly effective in reducing PTSD symptoms. It has been recognized by various international organisations and mental health associations as a recommended treatment for trauma-related disorders.
7. Integration and recovery: Through the reprocessing of traumatic memories, EMDR aims to help individuals develop new, more adaptive perspectives on past experiences, leading to reduced distress and emotional recovery.
While EMDR has shown significant success in treating trauma and PTSD, it’s important to note that therapy outcomes can vary among individuals. Some may experience substantial relief from symptoms after a few sessions, while others may require more extensive treatment. Additionally, EMDR therapy should only be administered by trained and licensed mental health professionals with expertise in trauma-focused therapies.
You schedule an assessment with a qualifed EMDR therapist in London by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.