Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a technique most commonly used in the treatment of trauma but the research of its effectiveness in other areas is growing. EMDR uses eye movements that activate both the right and left sides of the brain to create changes in how the brain patterns memories reducing the intensity of traumatic memories. The eye movements allow the brain to make the neural connections and associations necessary to digest traumatic memories and store them differently so that they don’t keep popping back up causing emotional distress, flashbacks and nightmares. More EMDR
Compassion Focused Therapy has been developed by Professor Paul Gilbert, Paul delivers CBT and found that not all people responded well to CBT and he researched why. What he found is that people who have high levels of shame and or self criticism may be able to alter their thinking patterns with CBT but if their internal dialogue is harsh it won’t improve their wellbeing. Developing more self-compassion is strongly correlated with improved emotional regulation and improved psychological health.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation which grounds you in the here and now, our minds are often racing ahead of us or stuck in the past. When we practice Mindfulness we become more aware of the patterns of our minds, which can be very helpful in CBT. Mindfulness has shown effectiveness in reducing stress levels and many other health benefits.
EMDR | The future of therapy
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is, in a nutshell, a revolution in therapy. Since training in it six years ago, I would now prioritise EMDR as the treatment of choice for a whole range of trauma symptoms due to the rapid recovery rates I have witnessed.
However, despite achieving phenomenal results, EMDR is still a relatively unknown therapy, and can also be a difficult concept to grasp. For both of these reasons, I can absolutely understand why you may be hesitant to try it.
I myself was highly sceptical about the therapy and doubtful that it would achieve significant results. However, as soon as EMDR became part of the NICE Guidelines for the treatment of trauma, I knew that it was a therapy that worked and immediately began training in it with the inspirational Dr Michael Paterson OBE.
Always keen to deliver evidence-based interventions, the results I have personally achieved from using EMDR with clients have been iterated in over 20 international studies confirming that people who have EMDR therapy recover much faster than those who undergo other kinds of therapy.
Indeed, the EMDR Institute says studies show that 77-90% of people were free from PTSD after only three to seven sessions. And The World Health Organization has stated that trauma-focused CBT and EMDR are the only psychotherapies recommended for children, adolescents, and adults with PTSD.
But what exactly is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) uses eye movements that activate both the right and left sides of the brain to create changes in how the brain patterns memories. The eye movements allow the brain to make the neural connections and associations necessary to digest traumatic memories and store them differently so that they don’t keep popping back up.
EMDR was founded by Francine Shapiro in 1991 when she realised that if you move your eyes from side to side as you think about distressing memories, the memories lose their power.
The most radical difference between EMDR and traditional ‘talk therapies’ is that it doesn’t involve:
- detailed description of the traumatic event(s)
- discussion of feelings
- direct challenging of beliefs
- work/practice between sessions
If you would like to know more about EMDR, please watch this video, which is a therapist's personal experience of having received the treatment for her childhood trauma experience. Talking about her experience of delivering EMDR to her clients.
This is a personal and compelling video, and as a therapist myself who has practised EMDR, this is an excellent reflection of the process.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing should only be practised by an EMDR qualified mental health professional. To find out more about what EMDR can help with, and how you can benefit from it please download the ‘Why EMDR?’ download via the button below.