Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an effective treatment for shocks and trauma. When something distressing and unexpected happens, most people experience unpleasant, disturbing and potentially overwhelming reactions and it’s not uncommon for people to wonder why they are affected when others seem fine. There are many reasons why people respond differently to events it all depends on the person’s background, previous experiences and proximity to events or other people involved.
Common symptoms following a traumatising incident are feelings of anxiety, fear, panic with a strong belief they should be able to cope. Trauma reactions can be scary and include: realistic flashbacks, intrusive images, troubling thoughts or nightmares; people can be easily startled and triggered by reminders of the event, which result in feeling out of control. Friends, relatives or colleagues may tell them they’ve changed, such as becoming angry, snappy or withdrawn; avoiding anything to do with the event or conversely compulsively looking for reminders; turning down invitations or drinking more than usual.
We can feel particularly vulnerable if we:
Have been the focus of the incident or repeated attack
Were close to the person or situation
Have suffered recent or unresolved bereavement
Were depressed, anxious or stressed at the time of the incident
Can identify with the person or situation
Is EMDR A Recognised Therapy?
In 2005 EMDR was formally recognised by UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress. EMDR is endorsed by the World Health Organisation; the Northern Ireland Department of Health; and is supported by research in the practice guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association and the US Departments of Defence and Veterans Affairs.
What Can EMDR Treat?
EMDR is an effective treatment for shock or trauma caused by witnessing or experiencing distressing experiences such as:
Accidents and incidents
Bullying and aggression
Motor vehicle incidents
Sexual, physical or emotional abuse
Sudden death of a person close you
Symptoms such as:
Avoiding normal activities
Flashbacks; intrusive thoughts or nightmares
Hot sweats or feeling cold and clammy
Increased use of alcohol, cigarettes, foods etc
Overreacting to loud noises or sudden movements
Thinking about the event when you don’t mean to
How Does EMDR Work?
In everyday life, sensory information (images, sounds, feelings, tastes, smells) passes through the amygdala, an emotional filter in the brain to our hippocampus where it is processed and stored or archived as a memory.
When we experience a shocked or traumatic event, the highly charged and emotional moments become ‘frozen in time’ and become ‘stuck’ in the amygdala. As a result, when the trauma is remembered, it can feel as though the intense emotion and fear from the past is happening now.
EMDR enables clients to reprocess traumatic memories by gently stimulating the brain to move the memory from the amygdala to the archive of the hippocampus. The gentle bilateral (side to side) stimulation is achieved through client’s eye movements, listening to sounds or tactile stimulation of the hands. The bilateral stimulation of EMDR creates biochemical changes in the brain and normal information processing is resumed. After EMDR the person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the trauma or disturbing event is brought to mind.
How Long Does EMDR Take?
A typical EMDR session lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. The type of problem, life circumstances, and the amount of previous trauma will determine how many sessions are necessary. NICE guidelines recommend up to 12 sessions for a single incident.
How Will You Help Me?
By delivering a friendly, ethical and safe service where you can talk in confidence, explore your issues, complete a course of EMDR and discover new ways of living.
As well as being an EMDR Europe Accredited Practitioner and UKCP registered Psychotherapist, my training includes an MSc in Therapeutic Practice for Psychological Trauma. All this experience and learning means, every working day I help people overcome a wide range of issues and triumph over some of the most difficult times of their lives. I am committed to delivering a quality service and work within the EMDR Europe and UKCP Codes of Ethics and Professional Occupational Standards.
Remember, you don’t have to suffer a moment longer, you can access EMDR by calling me, Dawn Haworth, on 07818 840 841 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.