Have you suffered a traumatic or distressing life event which is constantly on you mind, day and night? Do you find yourself re-experiencing the feelings and body sensations of the event as if it is happening now?
Maybe you don’t remember a specific traumatic event, but you know that in response to certain triggers, you experience a stronger reaction than other people around you seem to have…Or maybe you avoid situations or relationships because of past pain that you don’t want to re-experience.
When trauma goes untreated, it can affect all aspects of your life, manifesting as a variety of physical, emotional and behavioural symptoms.
EMDR therapy for trauma
If you experience trauma symptoms that are getting in the way of your living life to the full, you may benefit from a therapy called Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR).
EMDR has helped millions of people heal from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) resulting from traumatic events such as rape, abuse, road traffic accidents and relationship breakups. EMDR is extremely effective in healing past pain and dramatically reducing or even completely resolving trauma symptoms, often in a much-reduced time frame compared with conventional talking therapies.
How does EMDR work?
When a person is highly distressed, their brain cannot process information as it normally does. The traumatic memory becomes frozen in time, and recalling it may feel as intense as when it was first experienced, because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings associated with the event haven’t changed. Such memories can have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
EMDR seems to activate the brain’s inherent adaptive information processing system, enabling it to integrate the information that got stuck at the time of the distressing event. EMDR does not erase the memory, but reduces the emotional charge, so that the person can remember the event without becoming overwhelmed. Often during EMDR, the person will gain helpful insights, and at the end of successful EMDR therapy, will feel lighter, freer and more whole.
History and research
EMDR was developed by an American clinical psychologist, Dr Francine Shapiro, who published the first research data to support the benefits of the therapy in 1989. Since then a wealth of research has been conducted demonstrating its benefits in treating psychological trauma arising from a diverse range of experiences. Today, approximately 20 controlled studies have investigated the effects of EMDR. These studies have consistently found that EMDR effectively decreases or even eliminates the symptoms of post traumatic stress for the majority of clients.
EMDR is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
My training in EMDR
I have completed verified EMDR training that is accredited by EMDR Europe, and have worked successfully both with single traumas and more complex issues. I have a particular interest in working with people who experience attachment difficulties resulting from trauma in past relationships.
I am a member of the EMDR Association, UK & Ireland and attend regular supervision, peer groups and workshops to keep up to date with current developments in EMDR.
If you’d like to find out more, please visit my EMDR website, www.traumacounsellingbristol.co.uk .