Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Please note, our waiting list for EMDR is currently closed. This means we are not taking any new referrals for EMDR at the current time, because we are at our maximum capacity. We apologise for this, and will review the status of our waiting list regularly.

We offer a specialist trauma treatment called Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) which is recommended by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Our staff are trained and receive regular supervision for this work.

A detailed description of EMDR is given below but if you are offered it, you will have plenty of time to talk it through and ask questions.

What Are Trauma Memories?

During rape or sexual abuse, the threat and fear can be so great that we rely on our primitive survival methods to cope with the trauma. These are automatic responses that are concerned about the best possible way of keeping us alive and safe. Sometimes these responses are referred to as the five Fs – Fight, Flight, Freeze, Flop and beFriend. These automatic responses to trauma are excellent at giving us the best chance of survival.

Although our brains find the best way to survive its primary concern is to look after the physical body. When the trauma is over and the threat has subsided, it can be difficult to cope with the mental and emotional side of these automatic responses. These instant decisions are made in the primitive part of our brain and the working/processing part does not get activated. So our brains do not get a chance to fully process the traumatic event and sometimes fragments or all of the memory can get stuck. This can lead to all sorts of after effects including flashbacks, feelings of blame, shame and endless questioning of self.

Longer term effects can be depression, isolation, self-harm, avoidance, hyper-arousal, lack of confidence, low self-esteem, relationship issues etc.

EMDR is a way of working with service users using eye movements to stimulate stuck memories and bring them into the processing part of the brain.

What Can You Expect?

Our EMDR therapists will spend some time with you, talking about your history, medication, your support networks and the issues that affect you today. They will look at what you want to change and what you would like this to look like in the future. They will talk you through the theory, and incorporate some relaxation and self-support techniques to help you through the therapy.

They will be guided by you, on what memories that you would like to work on, and in what order. If some of the memories are related or have themes they will look at the first, worst and most recent memories and work in this way. You will be asked to bring the memory into your mind and then follow the therapist’s finger in bilateral eye movements. Your feedback is given after every set of movements until your distress is cleared and your thoughts and feelings are more positive.

After each session your therapist will discuss after care and you can use the relaxation techniques that you have learnt in the sessions.

This process is repeated until you have reached your goals. While everyone is different, over time the memories and feelings that you hold about the event will become less sensitive and many people have said that they feel a strong sense of relief after the sessions.

All our staff are trained and receive regular supervision for their work.

More information about EMDR is available from EMDR Association UK and Ireland - A professional association of EMDR clinicians and researchers.

"I didn’t think the therapy would work. The thought of someone sitting in front of me moving their fingers sounded ridiculous. But I was so desperate for help to remove or sort the flashbacks I was willing to give anything a try.

To my surprise this was the best life decision I have made so far. My therapist was kind and understanding, I had complete control over each session. The results were amazing, memories played out in full showing me exactly what happened which, however traumatic this was, it helped me process the memory and understand and finally deal with the emotions.

My therapist was there with me the whole time, and if I ever wanted to stop I was free to do so. I would recommend this service to anyone dealing with a traumatic event. It really helped change my life and all I can say is thank you to the service.

I wanted to share my story to encourage others to be brave and step forward to get the help they need."

A Poem by GW after EMDR

I now see the colours of leaves
The way they change through the seasons,
The way they crunch as you walk through them
And the way they woosh with the wind

I now hear the birds chirping a happy song
Singing their own song to each other and sitting so peacefully
In our garden

I now see the colours of the sea, the most
Beautiful blue colours, swirling and glistening on sunny days

I now see people, happy smiling friendly people, ones that don’t fill me with fear as they walk by
I now see pebbles on the beach, all different sizes, colours and shapes, all as beautiful as each other with a different story to tell
I now see stars and amazing skies, I’m no longer scared of that heavy unpredictable darkness above
I now feel love in the depth of my body, a warm fuzzy feeling that I never knew I could feel.
I now feel the arms of loved ones wrapped around me, a safety I never knew I would know.
I now see me, somebody I always knew was there but somehow didn’t recognise, acknowledge or feel.