Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy uses eye movements to release and process information that has become trapped in the mind body network. When something traumatic happens, or we have extreme fears, they seem to get locked in the nervous system, often with the original picture, sounds, thoughts and feelings. Because the experience is locked there, it continues to be triggered whenever a reminder occurs. It can be the basis for much discomfort and many negative emotions such as fear and helplessness that seem out of our control. These are the emotions connected with the old experience that are being continuously triggered.

The eye movements used in EMDR appear to unlock the nervous system and allow the brain to process the experience rather like what happens in REM whilst we dream. The eye movements are involved in processing the subconscious material held within the mind.

Although EMDR was originally developed for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), it is now used to treat a wide range of other conditions including abuse, eating disorders, depression, learning problems and phobias. EMDR is suitable for most people, including children.

EMDR is considered to be the therapy of choice for trauma and PTSD, according to the National Council for Clinical Excellence (NICE). It is also effective for anxiety disorders, substance abuse, phobias, pain control and body dysmorphic disorders. EMDR is also used to reduce performance anxiety in the workplace, arts and sport.

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