What is EMDR?
I am trained in EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. It is a psychotherapy that has been proven to be effective in treating trauma, and is recommended by the UK's National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The mind usually heals itself naturally the same way the body does and this happens when we sleep and enter REM (rapid eye movement) deep sleep. This is the mind's way of automatically processing day-to-day stress. However, when you are traumatised or distressed by an overwhelming event or events, this becomes too much for the mind to process. This results in memories being stored in the part of the brain responsible for feeling, rather then the part of the brain responsible for filing away memories into story mode, resulting in anxiety, anger, despair and panic being experienced in the here-and-now, despite the trauma or distress being a thing of the past.
EMDR helps to create connections in the brain to de-charge these memories or feelings in a very natural organic way.
What is an EMDR session like?
During our first session(s) we focus on building some tools and techniques for you to feel calm and comfortable in the therapy. I will then ask you a series of questions and we will agree on an area to work on before we begin with the eye movement process. Eye movements (similar to those in REM sleep) will be recreated for a short while whilst you focus on a specific area. Afterwards, I will ask for some short feedback and then this process repeats, several times throughout the session. With repeated sets of eye movements, memories, thoughts and feelings become less intense.
Many mistake this for a form of hypnosis, it is not. You remain fully awake and in control with me sat in the passengers seat guiding you gently through the process.
What else can EMDR be used for?
Alongside PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) EMDR is used successfully to treat:
I am also trained in CISD, which stands for critical incident stress debriefing. This is a process intended to limit symptoms of trauma directly after being exposed to a traumatic event. I designed and developed the trauma awareness training for those impacted by the Grenfell tragedy and have also supported the emergency services and armed response officers within the Met Police.