WHAT IS EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITISATION THERAPY (EMDR)?

EMDR is a type of therapy that was started by Dr Francine Shapiro in 1987. Dr Shapiro found that after rapid eye movements (eyes moving back and forth) disturbing thoughts and emotions improved. This type of therapy is recognised worldwide and has been used to treat a variety of disorders including post-traumatic stress, flashbacks, depression, phobias and anxiety.

We naturally have rapid eye movements (REM) when we sleep and this helps the brain process information. If we suffer from a traumatic experience we may not process information which can lead to a disturbing memory. Both sides of the brain can be stimulated if we move our eyes quickly from side to side. EMDR therefore helps individual’s process information (upsetting memories) and can help replace negative cognitions with positive cognitions.

EMDR is now recognised as a first line treatment for trauma. It has be used to help an estimated half a million people. It has been shown to work with, for example, war veterans, rape victims and motor accident victims.

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