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EMDR Therapy

What Is EMDR Therapy And How Does It Work?

EMDR Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, which means Desensitization and Reprocessing through Eye Movement, is a new psychotherapeutic approach that unlocks painful memories through bilateral brain stimulation.

EMDR Therapy was discovered by the American scientist Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s and approved by the WHO (World Health Organization) to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), such as assaults, rapes and catastrophes.

Currently, scientific studies and clinical experience point to positive results for other disorders such as anxiety, chronic pain, grief, chemical dependency, depression, bipolar disorder and psychosomatic illnesses. If you are facing any issues then we are the best emdr therapist in London.

​EMDR seeks to identify the trauma, understand how it is affecting the individual’s life and overcome it. This occurs because it stimulates the brain to process the disturbing memories, “recycling” the images, emotions, body sensations and negative beliefs associated with them, that is, it is a reprocessing therapy. The past remains in the past and the memory no longer triggers the uneasiness that it aroused before. Freed from what was imprisoned in the past, the client gains the necessary strength and positivism to move forward.

How does EMDR Therapy work?

Basically, EMDR helps the brain to “digest” disturbing memories through bilateral stimuli that can be visual, tactile or auditory, for example, observing a bar where a point of light moves or the therapist’s fingers moving from side to side. another, listening to bilateral sounds with headphones or receiving alternate taps on the hands or knees. These stimuli promote communication between the right and left cerebral hemispheres. In REM sleep, the stage of sleep in which dreams occur, the eyes move from side to side. It is during sleep that the brain processes the events and emotions of the day, leading to the understanding and recording of information. However, when disturbing events are associated with very intense emotions,

In EMDR therapy, the therapist applies bilateral stimuli, guides the client by helping him to remember a traumatic experience, guiding him so that his brain reprocesses the trauma and leaves it in the past.

EMDR Therapy step by step

Phase 1. The therapist collects information about the client and their symptoms focusing on the traumatic experiences in their history.

Phase 2. Emotional regulation exercises are carried out that promote a feeling of tranquility and security, such as identifying a peaceful place. The therapist then helps the client to experience and feel the tranquility of this place.

Phase 3 . The therapist defines the traumatic memory or “target” that will be worked on in EMDR and applies a scale for the intensity of the disturbance.

The target includes a mental image that represents the worst part of a traumatic memory, the emotions, body sensations, and negative belief that are associated with the image.

Phase 4 . The client is guided to think about the disturbing image, along with the negative belief, emotions and body sensations associated with it and, once the target scene is activated, the client is asked to just observe what happens and bilateral stimulation is started to process the painful image.

From time to time, the therapist interrupts the bilateral stimuli to check how the processing is going, that is, if there is any change in the image, emotions or sensations in the body, what thoughts came or if other memories appeared.

The brain is processing and revealing to the therapist what needs to be healed.

The intensity of the disturbance is examined after experiencing bilateral stimulation, until the client has reduced or zeroed out the disturbance when thinking about the disturbing image.

Phase 5. New ways of thinking are discovered. Having processed the traumatic experience of the past, the brain will help uncover positive beliefs such as: “I can satisfy my needs”, “I am not alone”, “I am worthy”, and so on. The client is led to think of the image along with the positive belief, while bilateral stimuli are applied in order to more strongly install these statements and the positive perception of himself, freeing him from the disturbance caused by years of pent-up stress.

Phase 6 . The therapist asks the client to notice if there are any disturbances in his body when he remembers the event. Processing of some disturbing body waste through bilateral stimulation is performed.

Phase 7. At this point, closure is performed, in which the therapist informs the client that the brain can continue to process even after the end of the EMDR therapy session. Ask him to write down new thoughts, memories or dreams, record his experiences and bring them to the next session.

Phase 8. The client returns for a reassessment where the possible results of the last session will be checked and also if the worked memory has been processed. Once the intensity remains gone, it means that the EMDR session was successful and the process worked to heal the wounds of the past.

This 8-phase therapy is a way to help the brain heal old wounds and resolve future concerns, as situations that used to generate a lot of emotional effort are now experienced in a much lighter way.

For those who have tried traditional therapy and still find that they are reacting to the same traumatic experiences as they were before, a great option is to consider EMDR therapy. It can help “rewire” the brain by making the right associations between reason and emotion, enabling you to overcome past hurts and find the inner strength that allows you to experience life to the fullest.