Basic guide to Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

What is EMDR?
When our brain takes in new information it is stored in the brain for retrieval at a later date. Our mind has the ability to naturally heal itself which normally occurs during sleep, particularly when Rapid Eye Movement (REM) happens. When something disturbing occurs i.e. you are a passenger in a car accident, the natural mechanism that manages these memories is unable to cope. These memories are left unprocessed. This results in emotions being triggered such as fear, anger, or despondency. It can feel as though the whole incident is happening again.

What happens in an EMDR session?
The therapist uses their hand or a moving light to create eye movements similar to those that occur when you are asleep. Over several sessions disturbing memories are reprocessed and the threat of them eventually reduces. You are awake all the time and helping your mind naturally heal the trauma. Sessions are 60 - 90 minutes

What can EMDR be used for?
It was originally developed in America to help soldiers suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) It is now used to treat anxiety, complicated grief, depression, panic, performance anxiety, stress, and self esteem.

Warning - Before commencing EMDR ensure the therapist is appropriately qualified and supervised.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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