Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) is a brain therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is usually associated with life-threatening events like being a soldier in combat. However, recent research indicates that people can also have PTSD symptoms from more common stressors such as divorce, grief, job loss and childhood neglect. Indeed, PTSD does not necessarily result from one type of trauma, nor from just one traumatic event but an accumulation of trauma over a lifetime.
Symptoms can be so distressing that PTSD sufferers may think they are going crazy. Their lives, for some, feel “spun out of control”.
The good news about PTSD is that it is treatable and resolvable.
These brain scans are from a woman who survived a violent sexual assault. The red area indicates over-activity, showing how activated the brain can become from PTSD.
This second brain scan reveals how calmed her brain became after EMDR treatment.
Research shows that such dysfunctional responses are held in our bodies through the nervous system and our brain’s neural networks that store memories. This is why most talking therapies do not work because they do not reach the embedded networks of the brain, that are trapped in their own neurological envelope.
EMDR was created by Dr Francine Shapiro to unravel the automatic responses by tapping into those embedded neurological envelopes to treat the traumatic memories.
EMDR is a complex therapy which works on reducing the level of disturbance – or automatic feeling reaction of the body, whilst transforming dysfunctional belief systems.
EMDR is recognised as having the highest level of research evidence for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by the Australian Psychological Society (EBPI Review 2010). It is also recognised in the UK by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence as “an empirically supported treatment for adult PTSD” (NICE Guidelines 2005).
Over 300 studies have been published showing EMDR to be effective for treating depression, anxiety, phobias, addictions, body dysmorphia and other mental health issues. EMDR has been used effectively with adults, but also with children and adolescents. New Research suggests that EMDR may be a more effective treatment for PTSD than antidepressant medication.
EMDR is popular because treatment outcomes occur in a shorter period of time than some other treatments and the changes have been shown to be permanent.
For more consult Francine Shapiro’s library of EMDR research
I’m a qualified EMDR Consultant meaning that I supervise other EMDR clinicians, as my expertise in this trauma treatment has been assessed and validated by the registering bodies of the EMDR Association of Australia and the EMDR Association of UK & Ireland.