Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR)
By Lorraine Ireland Of Mind & Health Matters
Francine Shapiro`s theory is that when a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it can sometimes in some people in certain situations, overwhelm our usual way of coping and the memory or event can be inadequately processed, hence the memory becomes dysfunctionally stored in an isolated memory network and can appear stuck as a recurring dream, sensory flashback, thoughts or beliefs, which can retain high levels of emotional and physical intensity, even many years after the activating event.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a clinical innovative integrative Psychotherapy treatment used to unlock the inadequately processed memory, which utilises a variety of therapies including psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, experiential and person/body centred approaches.
A structured phase of treatment is utilised to address disturbing memories or thoughts, dysfunctional/irrational emotions, beliefs, psycho-somatic or trauma related events (PTSD) that have left a negative impact on the patient. It was introduced to the therapy world in 1989 and has been taught to thousands of professional clinicians worldwide, with very positive results. EMDR is the most extensively researched treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It has proved for many people to provide profound and stable treatment benefits in a short period of time.
What Happens Within the Sessions?
A full assessment is carried out where a patient’s history will be taken; identifying possible targets for EMDR processing, including events, situations that elicit emotional, psychological or psychosomatic disturbance.
A treatment plan will be developed, which will be discussed and agreed with the patient.
The entire clinical picture is addressed during treatment, focusing first on the most disturbing issue and the negative belief attached to the issue that the patient has formulated, through the use bilateral stimulation of eye movements (moving the eyes back and forth); for some patients, taps or tones may be more appropriate.
Once this issue has been successfully processed to a level where the patient has adequate copying skills and is in a relatively stable state of mind, a preferred positive belief about the issue in question is processed, once again using Eye Movements instructed by the therapist, whilst the patient focuses on the new preferred positive belief. After each succession of eye movements the mind is more accepting of the new positive belief and the patient feels even more stable within a more balanced mind and body system.
Following each set of dual focus on the issue/negative belief and eyes movements together, the patient will be asked what associative information was experienced during the procedure, maybe images, thoughts, bodily sensations, sounds, tastes etc came to mind. These experiences will be the focus on the next set of eye movements as the issue continues to be broken down.
This process is repeated for each issue presented within therapy within this manner until the patient’s feels in control and much better equipped to cope.
EMDR is an exciting treatment method which has been assisting people from all over the world with a wide range of psychological and psychosomatic problems. It is a powerful tool which can accelerate treatment for a wide range of pathologies, relating to past and present events, which can effectively relieve human suffering. A patients self esteem, self worth, self belief and confidence can be increased within this therapy process.