What is eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) treatment?
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is a widely-used treatment technique that aims to stimulate a patient’s brain by inducing them to engage in rapid, rhythmic eye movements.
Here, Priory's Natalie Smith explains how EMDR can be used to treat almost any old memory that's bothering you.
During an EMDR session at our wellbeing centre, your therapist will move their fingers in front of your face and instruct you to follow these hand movements with your eyes. Whilst your eyes are moving back and forth, you will be asked to recall a disturbing memory, including the negative emotions that it causes, before the therapist gradually encourages you to shift your negative thoughts to more positive ones.
EMDR has been found to reduce the intensity of distressing memories and as such, is often used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition to its widespread use in the treatment of PTSD, EMDR has also been found to be effective in treating:
- Panic attacks
- Anxiety attacks
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Sleep disorders
- Complicated grief
- Pain relief, in relation to phantom limb pain
- Self-esteem issues
EMDR therapy in Southampton
Southampton’s therapists, such as Angela Marston, have successfully used EMDR in the treatment of many patients, ranging from those who have experienced single traumas, to those who are struggling with more ingrained anxiety and OCD. The validity and reliability of EMDR as a treatment method has been established by rigorous research, and it is recommended as an effective treatment method by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
EMDR can be used as a brief, focused treatment intervention, or may form part of a longer psychotherapy programme. Depending on the severity of the mental health condition that is being treated, anything from 6-18 EMDR sessions could be required.