EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing


Originally EMDR was studied and developed for the treatment of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

Studies have show that EMDR therapy can help people relatively quickly where it once to a long time to heal from these traumatic experiences through the usual psychotherapy.  EMDR therapy shows that the mind

EMDR is a form of  psychotherapy that allows people to heal from the symptoms and distress from a traumatic  experience.

When you get a cut, the body works to heal the wound and if a foreign body gets into the area, it becomes infected and this causes pain.  Once the foreign body is removed, healing can occur. 

EMDR works in a similar way but works psychologically.   If the traumatic event leaves memories or the mind becomes blocked by the trauma, the 'emotional' wound causes psychological pain and the result is poor mental health.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using the protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, counsellors help clients activate their natural healing processes.

When a person is involved in a traumatic event, they may feel overcome by emotions they find hard to deal with and their brain may be unable to process the information like a 'normal' memory.  The distressing memory seems to become stuck.   When the person recalls the distressing memory, they can re-experience what they saw and heard or felt and this can be quite extreme.  

Some find that the distressing memories come to mind when something reminds them of the distressing event or sometimes the memories just seem to just pop into mind through just doing day to day tasks. The alternating left-right stimulation of the brain with eye movements, sounds or taps during EMDR seems to stimulate the 'stuck' information processing system within the brain.

In this process the distressing memories seem to lose their initial power, so that the memories are less distressing and seem more like 'ordinary' memories.  The effect is believed to be similar to that which occurs naturally during REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) when your eyes rapidly move from side to side.  EMDR helps reduce the distress of all the different kinds of memories, whether it was what you saw, heard, felt or thought.


For more information, please visit the EMDR UK and Ireland Website.