EMDR is a method of treating post-trauma symptoms. It is approved by the NHS for treating unwanted responses to trauma, and is often used by therapists in other settings. Unwanted trauma responses are flashbacks to the event (often triggered by sounds or sights in the here and now), problems with sleeping, irritability and depression/anxiety.
It’s easy to think of trauma as something that only occurs on the battlefield or after a serious accident, but traumatic responses can also follow childhood abuse, a difficult ending to a relationship or being made redundant, for example. EMDR can help by minimising the unwanted feelings and emotions associated with trauma, allowing a return to a calmer life.
So what happens in an EMDR session? The therapist will ask you about a particular memory, and ask you to imagine how you feel about that memory now. Then they will ask you to follow their hand with your eyes as they move it forward and back in front of you. This is rather like the actions your eyes make while you sleep (called rapid eye movement) when the brain is managing memory storage. It sounds odd, but it is well researched and has plenty of positive outcomes recorded. The therapist will take care to make sure you are not left managing difficult feelings, and it can take several sessions to work through all the feelings associated with a memory. Eventually, the traumatic response that is associated with the memory can fade so that you will not fear the memory any longer.
I offer EMDR in my counselling office, so if you think I can help you, contact me for an appointment.