Eye Mouvement Desensitisation Reprocessing
____ What is EMDR ?
____ What can this approach help you with ?
____ How can you know if this is for you ?
____ What to expect from an EMDR session ?
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What is EMDR ?
EMDR was developed by American clinical psychologist, Dr Francine Shapiro, in the 1980s. As a Senior Research Fellow at the Mental Research Institute, she published the first research data to support the benefits of the therapy in 1989.
EMDR is an evidence based therapeutic procedure, which means that it developped mainly from self observation.
However, one unusual element in EMDR is bilateral stimulation usually in the form of eye movements, but also sometimes in the form of bilateral auditory or tactile stimulation.
There is evidence that bilateral stimulation speeds up the reprocessing of disturbing emotional or traumatic material and at the same time helps the client feel safer in making contact with traumatic material.
A number of replicated research trials have demonstrated that eye movements reduce the vividness of emotional and traumatic imagery.
It is believed that the eye movements induced in EMDR mirror the natural eye movement process that occurs in the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase of sleep during which information is processed naturally.
What can EMDR help me with ?
EMDR was originally designed to treat traumatic or "dysfunctional" memories and experiences and their psychological consequences, and the procedure has mainly been used in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
However EMDR has been increasingly used over the years to treat e.g., grief, phobias, test and performance anxiety, anxiety and panic disorders, pain, sexual dysfunction, and a wide range of experientially based disorders.
For therapists, vicarious traumas are common and show the same range of symptoms than for the individuals suffering from a 'direct trauma'.
How can you know if this is for you ?
Before begining the treatment with EMDR, I will assess whether EMDR would be suitable for the problem (s) presented and your personality.
What to expect from an EMDR session ?
The client will be asked to reconnect with the traumatic memory; though this is short with no need to talk about it.
Thereafter, a number of sets of eye movements or other bilateral stimulation are commenced, and after each set of eye movements the therapist will ask the client what they noticed.
Typically, the images, emotions, and sensations experienced change through this process. At some point these changes become more positive and adaptive as the client reprocesses old dysfunctional information and connects with presently held adaptive and functional information.
The aim is always to enable the client to recollect the original traumatic material without disturbance and to have new and more adaptive beliefs about themselves in relation to the experience.
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