Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a specialist psychotherapy that was developed by an American clinical psychologist, Dr Francine Shapiro, in the 1980s.

When a person is involved in a distressing event they can feel overwhelmed by their experience. Their brain may be unable to make sense of the information and store it like a normal memory. These distressing memories can become 'stuck' and our brains use this information to alert us to future threat.

This level of alertness can cause problems in daily life when a person is not in actual danger. They may feel constantly on edge, irritable, be unable to think clearly, have poor short-term memory or disrupted sleep. While other people describe feeling numb and detached from people. EMDR helps people reprocess the memory and reduce the distressing syptoms.

The number of EMDR sessions depends on the complexity of issues and may be brief (8-16 sessions) and focused on a particular issue or may be longer, as required, to help your recovery. Individual sessions are usually 60-90 minutes in duration. EMDR can be used to resolve the emotional distress caused by a variety of direct or indirect experiences that typically include:

Prolonged distress
Childhood abuse or bullying
Domestic abuse
War or conflict
Acute events
Road accidents
Natural disasters
Other distress
Panic attacks

The UK Government, NICE Guidelines recommend EMDR as one of the treatments for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); the other treatment is Trauma-focused CBT.

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