EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing

 link to Prof Paul Miller neuroscience on EMDR

EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing – this break though therapy in dealing with
Traumatic Events – Stressful Experiences – Guilt – Relationship Issues – Self Esteem – Imposter Syndrome – Distrust – Bullying in School and in the Workplace – Anger  – Tension and Anxiety – and Stress related Health concerns i.e skin issues, IBS, menopause etc

     Not to be used on anyone diagnosed with Epilepsy

The method of EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing was formulated by Dr Pauline Schapiro in 2001 is now used worldwide with millions of people having been treated for traumatic and stressful experiences, using this system of eye movements.

So what happens when the client is asked to follow the therapists fingers with their eyes from side to side and at the same time focussing on a stressful event in their lives or an event that is coming up that they perceive as being potentially stressful, thus stimulating old experiences?

The mind focusses on the stressful experience, a trauma, and because it has had an influence on the person over a period of time, there will be also a physiological effect as well, such as feeling anxious in the stomach or tightening in the throat etc. This suggests that that trauma has not been fully processed by the mind: in essence it is blocked and stuck in that thought. During EMDR the bilateral stimulus of the eyes moving from side to side is an external stimulus and whilst the mind is focussed on the bilateral movement of the eyes, this allows the mind to fully process the trauma. New associations are thought to complete the information thus allowing the blocked or stuck emotion to start healing.

There are 8 phases in EMDR – 

1. History taking to establish the timeline of events and situations that are causing distress.  This can be a memory of an actual event, flashbacks, nightmare images and triggers. This time spent will determine whether EMDR is appropriate for the client or whether hypnotherapy would be better or not.

2. The client is in control at all times and if at any point they wish to stop they just raise their hand.  Also the client is asked to think of a special place where they feel safe and secure.  If the client feels over whelmed by events and memories the session can be halted and they can go in their mind into their safe place.

Testing the Eye Movement: the therapist holds up 2 fingers  with the palm towards the client approximately 12 – 14 inches from the client’s face. The client’s range of vision from left to right is then assessed. Full bilateral movement is needed to be done at speed without discomfort to the client.

3. At this point in the session the client is asked to rate the emotion or experience  out of 10 and where if at all, if there an emotion felt in the body. Through scaling the emotion or event the therapist can monitor the progress through the session and evaluate the effectiveness of the EMDR 

 4. The process then begins as the therapist moves their index and middle finger from side to side and the client follows the fingers.  After approximately 24 bilateral movement the therapist stops. Assessment is discussed on how the client is feeling and the scale the event or emotion is now at. Also any other thoughts or images that the client might now be experiencing and these are relevant to the first emotion.

5.  The bilateral stimulation continues with pausing to re-assess and evaluate the emotion or whether new emotions and experiences have presented.

6. The client is asked whether there are any physical signs in their body relating to the event – if there are the bilateral stimulation continues until those sensations have reduced.

7. Closure – the client to is asked to revaluate the inital experience and also how do they feel in regard to that initial experience. A gentle hypnotic script is read to the client to allow them to enter a lovely calm state to bring the session to a close.

8.  Full evaluation and at this point is where the client and therapist establish how well the client processed the information.

In some studies and there have been many on EMDR, they have shown that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after three – 90 minute sessions. In another study 77% of combat veterans were relieved of post traumatic stress disorder in 12 sessions. (1).

After a great deal of research is has been established that EMDR therapy is an effective form of treating trauma and stressful events.

If you would like more information on EMDR and how I use it in my clinic please contact me : Tel: 07464202715

(1) EMDR Institute, Inc emdr.com/whatisemdr/ 2022