Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing, or EMDR therapy, was developed after the chance discovery by an American psychologist, Francine Shapiro, that bilateral eye movements helped her process the disturbance of negative thoughts and memories. This was in 1987, and over the following decade or so, she and her group in America crafted this discovery into an eight-phase protocol designed to maximise therapeutic benefit, and ensure safety and efficacy. Her book on EMDR therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: Basic Principles, Protocols, and Procedures, first published in 1995, is now in its third edition (Shapiro, 2018).
A great deal of research has been done on EMDR therapy and its efficacy for the treatment of psychological trauma has been established beyond doubt (Bisson, Roberts, Andrew, Cooper, & Lewis, 2013). As a result, EMDR is now a recommended trauma treatment in many national and international guidelines, for example, those of the World Health Organisation, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the American Psychiatric Association, the UK Psychological Trauma Society, and the guidelines of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which inform and guide healthcare services provided through the NHS.
You can listen to a BBC Radio 4 interview with an EMDR client by clicking here.
Training to practise EMDR is restricted to fully qualified mental health professionals. In the UK, the training is overseen by the EMDR Association UK & Ireland which sets the standards for training organisations, trainees and qualified EMDR therapists.
Ethical, Affordable EMDR Therapy
In 2017, I completed EMDR training at The EMDR Academy, which is an EMDR Europe accredited training. Currently a therapist member of the EMDR Association UK & Ireland, I am now working towards full accreditation. During this time, I am pleased to offer compassionate and ethical, time-limited EMDR therapy in central London at an affordable rate. Designed to address specific issues, if you would like more information, please contact me by email, text or phone, or send a message through the form on the Contact page. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.
What happens in EMDR therapy?
Bilateral stimulation facilitates the processing of an image, usually by following the therapist’s fingers with your eyes as they move their fingers to and fro in front of you for a short time. Other forms of bilateral stimulation may be used if more appropriate, such as tapping on the backs of your hands.
It is not yet fully understood how EMDR works but it is thought to facilitate processing of sensory memories into long-term cognitive memory. The traumatic event then takes up its rightful place in your biographical memory rather than continuing to distress you on a regular or even daily basis.
This is an important difference from some other forms of trauma-focused treatments.
For individual memories that you may find particularly difficult to talk about, it is possible not to tell the therapist anything about that memory at all, and still do an EMDR session on it. This would not perhaps be the best way to work with all the aspects of an entire traumatic event, but it is a possibility for individual memories. This can help to maintain a greater sense of privacy and distance from the trauma.
How long does it take?
For clients who are already working with a counsellor who does not practise EMDR, it is possible to see an EMDR therapist on a short-term basis to address a particular issue, and then return to one’s regular counsellor. This would, of course, need to be agreed with the client and both therapists beforehand.
Make an Enquiry
If you would like more information about psychological therapy and how we may be able to work together to address your concerns,
you are warmly invited to call, email, or message me through the form on the Contact page.
07801 273768 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Bisson, J. I., Roberts, N. P., Andrew, M., Cooper, R., & Lewis, C. (2013). Psychological therapies for chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults (review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 12. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003388.pub4
Shapiro, F. (2018). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy: Basic principles, protocols, and procedures (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.