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What is EMDR?

‘Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing’ (EMDR) is a treatment which is based on how the brain deals with information. It has been developed as a treatment for overcoming Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is now recognised by NICE (the National Institute for Clinical and Health Excellence) as an effective therapy. It is also applied to a number of other difficulties.

EMDR is also particularly useful for helping to manage Chronic pain, fears and phobias as well as for performance enhancement.

During EMDR, the focus is on the person’s own experience. The client brings to mind the difficult material, at the same time as focussing on the present in a particular way, for example, using side-to-side eye movements, which is why it is called Eye-Movement desensitisation and reprocessing.

The focus on the past and present at the same time seems to help the brain to deal with difficult and upsetting memories more effectively. There has been a lot of research which shows that this technique works really well, although there are some different theories about why it helps.

During EMDR, the client may experience intense emotions but the therapist is there to help the person through it, and will work with the client to make sure that they have ways to manage strong feelings and difficult memories or experiences.