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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. During an EMDR session, your therapist will move his or her 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:

Southampton’s specialists, Angela MarstonRoss Hoar and Dr Rachel Gregory, 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).

Treatment using EMDR
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EMDR case study
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