8 Things You Didn’t Know About EMDR Therapy

Anne-Louise Foley, a APCP accredited counsellor and member of the BACP, who has recently completed her training in Eye Movement and Desensitisation Reprocessing, has 8 Things You Didn’t Know About EMDR (and why it might be a good therapy for you):

  • This intriguingly titled therapy, developed by Francine Shapiro, has been around since the 1980s but has particularly gained popularity in recent years since it was mentioned very positively in Bessel Van Der Kolk’s best selling book ‘The Body Keeps the Score’;
  • EMDR is recognised and recommended by the World Health Organisation and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a treatment for trauma and PTSD.
  • EMDR can be used for many kinds of issues, not just ‘big T trauma’. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) states that EMDR therapy can help you process experiences that are having an impact on your mental health and wellbeing. If you’re affected by low self esteem or anxiety, for example, it could help. It has also been shown to be effective for phobias, depression, OCD, eating disorders, and can help with chronic pain.
  • EMDR works by linking distressing memories, along with their associated thoughts, feelings and body sensations.  In the safe environment of a trained therapist’s room, the memory can be moved along, (processed), from where it’s currently stuck and causing distress, due to the fact that only limited information was available to the individual at the time of the event. For example, a person who was bullied at school might have internalised the thought: I’m not good enough, and notice their heart beating strongly or a sick feeling in their stomach when faced by present day triggers. It feels as if they are re-experiencing the event. Returning to the ‘scene’ of the bullying event(s) while also grounded in the safety of the presence, allows them to now notice it differently and fill out the picture with adaptive information, resulting in a more realistic or positive belief about themselves.
  • People who have been treated with EMDR include Prince Harry (recently seen talking about it with Oprah), Paris Jackson, and Mel B. And it has featured in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
  • While the title refers to eye movements, other bilateral stimulation, such as tapping your shoulders (‘butterfly hug’), holding buzzers that vibrate slightly, or auditory sounds via headphones, can be used also. The treatment can be done in person or online and can be used with both adults and children.
  • It’s important that EMDR is carried out by a licensed practitioner, certified by EMDR Europe Association, or the EMDR Institute. For further information: https://emdrireland.org/
  • While the science involved isn’t exactly known, there’s a few theories about why it works – it replicates the movement of the eyes in REM sleep; it taxes working memory, leaving less space to focus on the disturbances associated with the upsetting or traumatic event; and the orienting response involved helps integrate new information which can change emotionally loaded memories and bring about a new feeling of safety.

To find out if EMDR might be a suitable treatment for you contact annelouisef@yahoo.com / 085 1288911 and you can see Anne-Louise’s full profile and contact details here in order to make an appointment.



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