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What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR is a powerful psychotherapy technique which has been very successful in helping people who suffer from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, post traumatic stress and many other emotional problems.

Until recently, these conditions were difficult and time-consuming to treat.EMDR is considered a breakthrough therapy because of its simplicity and the fact that it can bring quick and lasting relief for most types of emotional distress.

The EMDR technique uses a natural function of the body, rapid eye movement, or REM as its basis. The human mind uses REM during sleep time to help it process daily emotional experiences. When trauma is extreme, this process breaks down and REM sleep doesn’t bring the usual relief from distress. This is where EMDR comes in. EMDR is the next step or, you might say, an advanced stage of the REM processing.

How does EMDR Work?

When disturbing experiences happen, they are stored in the brain with all the sights, sounds, thoughts and feelings that accompany them. When a person is very upset, the brain seems to be unable to process the experience as it would normally. Therefore, the negative thoughts and feelings of the traumatic event get “trapped” in the nervous system. Since the brain cannot process these emotions, the experience and/or their accompanying feelings are often suppressed from consciousness. However, the distress lives on in the nervous system where it causes disturbances in the normal emotional functioning of the person.

The EMDR Technique does two very important things. First, it “unlocks” the negative memories and emotions stored in the nervous system, and second, it helps the brain successfully process the experience.

The therapist works gently with the client, guiding him or her to revisit the traumatic incident. As images and feelings arise, the client’s eye movements are “matched” with the remembered events and then re-directed into particular movements that cause the release of the memories. When the memory is brought to mind, the feelings are re-experienced in a new way.

EMDR – What to Expect

During your first EMDR session the therapist will take a history of your problem and question you about the behaviours and fears that have led you to seek help. After the initial assessment, the EMDR therapist will teach you some techniques to handle any emotions or feelings you may experience during the session or afterwards. This is an important stage and builds trust between you and the therapist.

The therapist will then explain EMDR in detail and find out what you can expect from the therapy.

Conditions treated include:-


Childhood trauma



Low self-esteem

Panic attacks


Physical abuse

Post traumatic stress


Sexual abuse


Victims of violent crime

It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.

Somerset Maugham