EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITISATION & REPROCESSING
“Thanks so so much, Fiona! I don’t know where I would still be without you - EMDR has been a game-changer for me!”
EMDR is a psychotherapy that offers relief and healing from emotional distress and symptoms that are the result of disturbing life events. It has been rigorously researched and was discovered by Francine Shapiro in 1987, initially for the treatment of PTSD. EMDR is currently used to treat a wide range of mental health problems and is recommended by The World Health Organisation (WHO), & National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). EMDR helps both the mind and the body by paying attention to events in the past, the present and the future through an eight-phase approach.
The Adaptive Information Model (AIP) guides EMDR; the aim is to add adaptive emotions to the neural network with bilateral stimulation which can be achieved through eye movements, tapping or sound. More information can be found on the EMDR Association website:
EMDR is not hypnosis and you will remain fully in control. We will work together at a pace you feel comfortable with. Through reprocessing, we will not erase the memory but aim to change it in a way that becomes less distressing and upsetting by reducing the intensity; attention is paid to changes in thoughts, images and emotions. Improvements to functioning can take place in a timely manner, moving away from being hijacked in survival mode, and having freedom from a dysregulated nervous system.
Post-traumatic stress disorder - or PTSD - is a mental health problem that may develop after experiencing, or being exposed to, a highly stressful, frightening, or traumatic event. It can often be the case that when help is initially requested for a trauma presentation, depression or anxiety can be identified as the treatment focal area with medication or lengthy amounts of therapy failing to resolve such symptoms.
Trauma can occur from a one-off single, significant life event (Type 1) such as a physical or sexual assault, a car accident, a fire, difficult childbirth, or a natural disaster.
Trauma, however, can also refer to a series of traumatic events or recurring episodes (Type 2) that can come and go over time, or that overlap at times, for example, childhood emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, school or workplace bullying, racism, being in a domestic abusive relationship or being in the armed forces, or other high-risk occupation. This is known as complex trauma. When complex PTSD or C-PTSD is experienced, day-to-day functioning can be significantly hindered and, relationships suffer.
So, it can be said that past trauma very much feeds into the present, stripping away enjoyment in life and hampering future beliefs with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. We will work together using an interpersonal focus to aid the practicalities of regaining back confidence and self-belief.
When looking at the wider picture through a trauma lens, mental health conditions may be viewed in a different light with the effects of unprocessed trauma, for example, chronic depression or anxiety disorders. Therefore, it is so important to access the correct form of therapy. Events from the past such as rejection, making a mistake, or feeling overly responsible for not doing or preventing something, can all result in us feeling bad about ourselves in the here and now, with highly critical thinking styles, perfectionism, self-blame, or self-neglect. Unhelpful behaviours can take over which serves to maintain problems.
A range of emotions can be experienced such as anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, guilt, & shame. As shame is one of the strongest emotions to shift, shame-based trauma - an actual, or perceived sense of failure which knocks our self-image and relationships - can respond very well to EMDR. We will also work on strategies to aid self-compassion. Attention will also be paid to safety, grounding, and stabilisation in earlier sessions.
To emphasise, trauma is not in the event per se, but in one’s response to the event, hence why trauma should be defined from an individual perspective. Looking at the whole person includes finding out who that person is, their struggles, symptoms & behaviours. A therapist looking through a trauma lens sees difficulties that stem from past experiences, not just that of a diagnosis.