Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (or EMDR for short) was developed by the American psychologist, Dr Francine Shapiro, in the 1980s as a treatment for psychological trauma and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as a result of experiences such as war, childhood sexual abuse, road traffic accidents, and surgery. Since then, EMDR has been used for other issues such as anxiety, depression, pain management and phobias - as well as a trauma treatment for children and adults with language barriers or those who find it difficult to speak about the trauma.

EMDR is an evidenced-based treatment (backed-up by research) and is one of only two NICE-approved treatments for PTSD. It is believed that EMDR treatment replicates the process that takes place inside the brain during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep when your eyes move rapidly from side to side. It is believed that the stimulation on the brain, produced by EMDR treatment, stops the brain from becoming overwhelmed and allows traumatic memories to be processed so that they can be recalled later without distress. EMDR helps reduce distress caused by all different types of memories i.e. images, sounds, smells, tastes, physical sensations, thoughts or beliefs.

Up to 12 EMDR treatment sessions may be required, depending on the complexity of the trauma.

For more information about EMDR visit the EMDR UK & Ireland website.