EMDR is a psychotherapeutic treatment which can be used alongside other types of therapy. It is an effective treatment for people who suffer from symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other areas of emotional distress such as anxiety, panic attacks and stress. EMDR is a psychological treatment which is approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.
If you have been involved in a traumatic event and are still experiencing intrusive and repeated distressing memories persisting for more than two to three months after the event, you may be suffering from traumatic stress.
EMDR focuses on the memories of a trauma including all of the negative thoughts, feelings and sensations experienced at the time of the event. However, IT DOES NOT require the person to talk at length about the event. It's more of a ‘moving through’ process than ‘staying with’. This is to prevent people from feeling re-traumatised.
During EMDR, you will be asked to concentrate on an image connected to the traumatic event and the related negative emotions, sensations and thoughts, while paying attention to something else, usually my hand or fingers moving from side to side in front of your eyes. However, for some people, tapping on their hands can be used instead. After each set of eye movements (about 20 seconds), you will be encouraged to let go of the memories and give short feedback on the images and emotions you experienced. The process is repeated, only this time with a focus on any difficult, persisting memories. Once you feel less distressed about the image, you will be asked to concentrate on it while having a positive thought relating to it.
EMDR aims to change how you feel about these memories and helps you to have more positive emotions, behaviour and thoughts in the future.
A traumatic event is an experience that has been particular threatening or distressing.
These might include:
OR other situations in which a person was very afraid, horrified, helpless, or felt that his or her life was in danger.
The trauma can be a single event or a series of events taking place over many months. The events may have been recent or happened a long time ago.
Unresolved trauma can result in having repeated and intrusive distressing memories of the event. There may also be a feeling of reliving, or re-experiencing, the event through ‘flashbacks’ or nightmares, and this can be very distressing and disorientating. There can also be physical reactions, such as shaking and sweating.