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EMDR

A close up of an eye

EMDR is an acronym for a therapeutic treatment called Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. It was originally developed to treat cases of severe trauma, resulting from adverse events such as sexual abuse, torture or childhood neglect.

The use of EMDR has now been widely broadened to include the treatment of psychological and mental disorders, including alcoholism, drug addiction and depression. It is highly effective for clients who wish to improve their ability to process emotional or physical distress.

When an individual experiences trauma, whether it is a life threatening accident or something seemingly less significant such as feeling humiliated, it may continue to have an effect for many years.

This is because the brain has been unable to process the trauma, which can result in flashbacks, nightmares and behaviour that may not obviously appear to be linked to original event.

How does EMDR work?

EMDR uses a combination of side-to-side movements of the eyes or other forms of bilateral stimulation in order to process trauma in a healthy way.

It was originated by Dr Francine Shapiro in 1987. During EMDR sessions, a client recollects emotionally disturbing material in brief sequences, while simultaneously focusing on an external stimulus.

This facilitates the accessing of the traumatic memories so that the information is adaptively processed, with new associations being made that result in a more positive outlook.

EMDR can also be beneficial to clients who suffer from anxiety disorders, burnout, eating disorders, pathological gambling, substance and behavioural addictions, codependency and chronic pain.