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EMDR Psychotherapy

What is EMDR therapy?

EMDR is a therapy invented by Dr Francine Shapiro in 1987. She noticed that walking in a park generated rapid eye movements, which lessened disturbing thoughts feelings emotions and sensations. Clinicians and researchers worldwide over the last 30 years have used bilateral stimulation in tactile, auditory and visual modalities to lessen the distress associated with mental health disorders and physical conditions like complex pain and non-epileptic attack disorder. It is recognized worldwide by the medical profession and achieves success without using drugs or hypnosis.

What Problems can EMDR Psychotherapy treat?

EMDR can be used to treat with patients with:

  • Flashbacks,
  • Depression,
  • Phobias,
  • Addictions,
  • Grief and bereavement,
  • Anxiety, guilt and anger
  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Victims of physical emotional and sexual abuse including rape
  • Complex trauma with symptoms of dissociation

EMDR has treatment protocols for posttraumatic growth including the development of:

  • Mental Toughness
  • Emotional Resilience
  • Optimal functioning and
  • Peak Performance

This can apply in the work business and sports environments or wherever anticipatory anxiety affects performance.

How does EMDR Psychotherapy work?

Normally events that occur during the day are reprocessed during sleep and particularly rapid eye movement or REM sleep. REM shifts information from the right cerebral hemisphere, which stores emotions and sensorimotor information to the left cerebral hemisphere, which converts these into language thoughts and long-term memory. However when we experience a trauma or stressful life event, our brain becomes overwhelmed and the information becomes stuck as a bodily emotion, feeling or sensation. This can lead to intrusive thoughts high levels of arousal and avoidance of reminders of the event months and even years later. By applying continuous bilateral stimulation in auditory and tactile modalities for 60 to 90 mins, while concentrating on the disturbing memory EMDR Psychotherapy kick starts and speeds up the natural healing process.

EMDR Psychotherapy helps to reprocess information stored somatically and helps to replace ‘negative’ associations of the traumatic memory. As the distress levels associated with the event diminish more ‘positive’ beliefs can be installed. For example, a rape victim may believe the attack was their fault. Reprocessing the memory using EMDR Psychotherapy allows realisation that they were not to blame for the attacker’s actions.

EMDR Psychotherapy works via the following mechanisms:

  1. Eye movement. This is generated by bilateral stimulation of the peripheral nervous system using tactile units held in each hand.
  2. Desensitisation. This refers to activating the emotions; sensations and feelings stored somatically until there are registered at a cognitive level in the prefrontal cortex.
  3. Reprocessing. This occurs when the negative self referencing beliefs associated with the traumatic events are diminished and replaced with healthier functional positive beliefs working towards a future template related to the patient’s desired outcomes and goals.

With EMDR Psychotherapy you lead the therapeutic process with the knowledge that your body will only bring up information, which you are ready to deal with. As you remain in control it is different to hypnotherapy.

How will a typical course of EMDR Psychotherapy work?

 There are several stages in the course of EMDR Psychotherapy:

  1. Assessment. A detailed intake interview covers all aspects of development from pregnancy, birth, infancy, childhood, and adolescence into adulthood. A list of traumatic and stressful life events is collated and together a joint treatment plan is agreed. This lasts 1.5 to 2 hours.
  2. Installation of coping skills, stabilization of any dissociative symptoms. During EMDR Psychotherapy you are maintained within the CALM WATERS. This stands for Conscious, Aware, Level headed, Mindful. Within a window of Affect Tolerance, Emotional Regulation and Stability.
  3. EMDR Psychotherapy. After discussing the adverse life event you will “Google’ the memory to identify the worst part of the memory and its associated negative belief. Continuous bilateral stimulation is used to lessen the distressing memory until it no longer resonates with difficult emotions. Once the subjective unit of distress or SUDS level is reduced sufficiently an agreed positive belief is installed until it can be fully believed as valid and reliable.
  4. Re-evaluation. Once you make progress you will feel a lessening of the burdens previously associated with the traumatic memories and typically your symptoms will be much improved.

How long does EMDR therapy take?

A typical course of EMDR Psychotherapy lasts 10 or 12 hours. This is broken up into 5 or 6 two-hour sessions, which can be provided either intensively over a period of days or over a period of weeks. More intensive treatment results in a rapid resolution of your symptomatology. This duration of Psychotherapy is much quicker than conventional approaches such as cognitive behaviour therapy.

What is the evidence base for EMDR Psychotherapy?

Over the last 30 years, millions of people of all ages have benefited from EMDR Psychotherapy. Although primarily used for acute and complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), it has widespread applications across the range of mental and physical health disorders.

Should I have EMDR Psychotherapy?

EMDR Psychotherapy can be carried out in a safe setting such as 16 Grammar School Road Lymm or alternatively in your own home. It can be an intense emotional experience, which carefully managed, resolves traumatic symptoms quickly. If you feel this is the right approach for you please ask your GP for advice.

Finding Help

Contacting your GP is often the easiest way to get further treatment with EMDR Psychotherapy. I am also available to discuss your concerns on 07450209933 at which point an appointment for an initial assessment can be made.

To arrange an appointment please contact 07450209933 or email