Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) is a combination of both talk and body-based therapy that can help you process trauma or ongoing upsetting emotions, fears and beliefs, safely, freeing you to move forward with your life.
"EMDR therapy has been fundamental for regulating my emotions, tackling my trauma, and balancing my needs. My therapist helped me identify and resolve issues that I was previously unaware of while also helping me with big issues that I was struggling to face."
Lara, 40, Berlin
When a traumatic event is too overwhelming to cope with, our mind’s natural healing capacity can become blocked and we store the memories of the event exactly as they were experienced, in the form of raw emotions, sounds or images, and unintegrated with our other memories. All it takes is a single ‘trigger’ to bring them to the surface, leading you to relive the event again.
EMDR has several steps and can be an emotionally intense experience, but your therapist will guide and support you all the way through.
EMDR will take you back to revisit past experiences while keeping one foot safely grounded in the present. You won’t have to talk about all the details of what happened. Your therapist will just ask you to hold the memory in your mind and notice what you notice while you pay attention to a moving object, hand taps or tones in alternating ears.
Activating these parts of the brain helps reprocess the experiences by also accessing and integrating more adaptive information stored elsewhere in the brain. This helps to put the experience in context and update the messages you took away from the experience. EMDR allows your mind to go to the places it needs to heal so you can process difficult memories and store them in the past where they belong. They will then no longer have the power to trigger you and affect your life now.
Studies have shown that EMDR can produce results in a short period. For single traumas, it can often bring about recovery in up to three sessions. A longer course of EMDR can also be effective in treating complex trauma too.EMDR can be effective via online sessions as well as the more traditional method of offering it in person. Sometimes longer sessions are advised to allow more time to ‘reprocess’ the traumatic memories and find a healthier resolution to them.
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After facing fertility issues, 32-year-old ‘Lucy’ decided to seek support from a therapist. Here, she shares the story of her EMDR therapy journey…
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