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What is EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR is a form of therapy that has been intensively researched and has been proven effective in the treatment of trauma. To this day EMDR has helped millions of people relieve different types of psychological distress.

In the late 1980’s Dr Francine Shapiro observed the effect that the eye movements had in reducing the intensity of disturbing thoughts and emotions. She continued her research on this matter and developed a set of standardized protocols that incorporate various elements from different therapeutic approaches.

How does EMDR work?

We do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. The disturbing event gets stored into the brain with the original picture, sounds, smells, and/or bodily sensations. The event (or series of events) can be said it gets stored “frozen in time” and can interfere with the way the person sees the world and relates to other people.

An EMDR intervention affects the particular way in which the negative event has been stored.

This change happens to such an extent that the person (following an EMDR session) no longer relives the sensations, thoughts and emotions when the event is brought to mind!

EMDR seems to be similar to what occurs naturally during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, a possible physiologically based therapy that assist the brain to process the disturbing event, and in the end helping the person to see the disturbing material in a new light.

How long does the EMDR take?

The first two sessions are dedicated towards understanding the nature of the problem and if EMDR is an appropriate form of treatment.

A typical session lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. Clients usually find out that they need more than one EMDR session to complete the full treatment.

Does EMDR really work?

Studies have found consistent results regarding the decrease in the symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Many international agencies including the World Health Organisation consider EMDR as an efficient and rapid treatment of post-traumatic stress disorders.

Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for post-traumatic stress.  Clinicians also have reported success using EMDR in treatment of the following conditions:

  • Panic attacks
  • Complicated grief
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Disturbing memories
  • Phobias
  • Pain disorders
  • Performance anxiety
  • Stress reduction
  • Addictions
  • Sexual and/or Physical abuse
  • Body dysmorphic disorders
  • Personality Disorders