Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing

Having undertaken EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) training in Parts I, II, and III, I am able to offer clients this evidence based treatment in Birmingham and within the Warwickshire region. EMDR can be described as an information processing therapy, and utilises a protocol that aims to reduce the intensity of traumatic images. This treatment has been shown to be effective in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in combination with CBT.

EMDR was originally developed by Francine Shapiro, and aims to reduce the emotional response to any disturbing memories. If a troubling event feels ‘fresh’ in the mind’s eye and is in the ‘here and now’ rather than the ‘then and there’, then EMDR may well be able to help. Clinical observations indicate that when images feel ‘fresh’ they also have an unsettling intrusive quality to them.

In my professional career I have successfully treated a number of client’s with this modality. EMDR uses a structured eight phase approach, and utilises many parts of CBT by assessing the current situations that trigger dysfunctional emotions, schematic beliefs and sensations.

During treatment, various procedures can be used. One of these is “bilateral stimulation” using either eye movements, tones or taps. During the reprocessing phase the client reflects on past memories, present triggers, or anticipated future experiences whilst also focusing on the set of external stimulus. This leads to the emergence of insight, changes in memories, or new associations, which enables the client to draw their own connections before initiation of each subsequent set.  I tend to use headphones to facilitate the bilateral stimulation as this enables me to observe bodily reactions to the images, after all the ‘body remembers’.

A full description of the theory, sequence of treatment, and research on protocols and active mechanisms can be found in F. Shapiro (2001) Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: Basic principles, protocols andprocedures (second edition) New York: Guilford Press.