EMDR is a powerful psychological treatment method that was developed initially to help those traumatised by war. Since then a range of research has been conducted which demonstrates its effectiveness in treating psychological trauma arising from experiences as diverse as bullying, childhood sexual and/or physical abuse or neglect, natural disaster, assault, surgical trauma, road traffic accidents and workplace accidents.
When a person is involved in a distressing event, one feels overwhelmed and the brain may be unable to process the information like a normal memory. The distressing memory seems to become frozen on a neurological level. When a person recalls the distressing memory, it leads to re-experiencing what one saw, heard, smelt, tasted or felt, which can be quite intense. Sometimes the memories are so upsetting, that the person tries to avoid thinking about the distressing event or experiencing the distressing feelings.
In EMDR the therapist stimulates both sides of the brain by using eye movements, sounds or touch by tapping the back of the hand. This has been found to be effective in unblocking the information processing system, thereby loosening its intensity and the impact on the person. With successful therapy, the person is able to remember the incident without the resulting distress it used to cause in the past.
Number of sessions vary, with the average being 6-8 and long term trauma requiring more.
For more information about EMDR visit: www.emdrassociation.org.uk