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What is EMDR?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) was developed in the 1980’s as a way of helping people process distressing, upsetting and unwanted memories.  It has become one of the most researched therapies and is now recommended by NICE (the National Institute of Clinical Excellence) and the NHS for helping individuals to recover from trauma.


Often, when something traumatic happens, the memory of the event, either in its entirety, or aspects of it (sights, sounds, sensations, smells etc.), can’t be filed away like other memories, it becomes ‘stuck’ and is reactivated over and over in the present, sometimes for no apparent reason, causing flashbacks, unwanted images, nightmares, feelings of anger/anxiety/fear etc. that don’t seem to fit the situation you are in.


EMDR uses alternate stimulation of the left and right side of the brain (through eye movements, sound, tapping or buzzers) while calling to mind the upsetting memory/image, to activate the brains natural healing and reprocess or refile the memory/image. During this stage of EMDR many people find the memory/image loses its emotional charge. Although you won’t forget what happened, the high emotions attached to it lessen and it becomes much like any other memory.


It is important to note that EMDR is so much more than ‘just’ this stimulation.  When we work together using EMDR we will explore what has happened to you, all the most upsetting parts and which aspects you want to reprocess, we will work on relaxation and breathing exercises to help you ‘ground’ yourself when and if you find yourself ‘triggered’ by the memory/image and we will work on installing more positive beliefs about yourself in relation to the memory/image.


As EMDR does involve you focusing on the most upsetting parts of your experience it can be hard work and upsetting at times, so it is important you are prepared for this, which is why we work on relaxation exercises and building a strong working relationship together first.

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What does it help with?

I use EMDR to help with trauma related to bereavement as well as;

  • anxiety and panic attacks

  • depression

  • stress

  • phobias

  • sleep problems

  • complicated grief

  • self-esteem and performance anxiety

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