EMDR integrates elements from several different approaches and utilises a set of standardised protocols during an eight-phase course of treatment. Individuals are provided a safe space in which they can experience images, emotions, self-thoughts, and body sensations related to their trauma. This is thought to help the brain adapt, and aid healing. EMDR therapy proposes that trauma and challenging or negative experiences overwhelm the brain’s normal ability to heal and cope, leading to anxiety, flashbacks, harmful coping strategies, and/or depression.
It is thought that re-experiencing the trauma in a safe environment with a therapist, can stimulate the healing process due to the bilateral eye stimulation. EMDR therapy is thought to work because it ‘unsticks’ traumatic memories that were not properly processed and stored, and therefore became stuck.
The external stimulation (that is, the bilateral movement, sound, or tapping) is thought to bypass the part of the brain that processes memories and help individuals reprocess the memory safely by reprocessing the presence of the physical, emotional, and psychological effects related to the traumatic event, leading to resolution. EMDR therapy also helps individuals understand the previously disturbing events and their negative associations and thoughts about themselves that resulted from it.
Our EMDR therapists aim to help you safely reprocess traumatic memories until they no longer cause psychological disruption. Exposure to the memories over time is thought to reduce the negative impact. This is done over eight phases, these are: history taking, client preparation, assessment, desensitization, installation, body scan, closure, and re-evaluation of treatment effect.
Your therapist will attempt to help you replace negative views and beliefs about yourself that relate to traumatic memories, with positive ones. For example, rather than feel blame-worthy, an individual can learn to feel worthwhile instead. EMDR therapy helps to recognise emotions and sensations that relate to the disruptive memory. Memories are reviewed at the same time as bilateral eye movement. The therapist will usually move two fingers bilaterally and after each set of movements (usually involving both eyes), individuals are asked how they feel.
They may also use tapping or sound as the stimulus. This continues until the memory is processed and no longer feeling disruptive. The new positive belief is “installed” after this, again using bilateral movement. EMDR therapy sessions typically last between 6-12 sessions and are 50 minutes. You may have one or two session per week. For some more sessions may be required, this depends on how isolated and complex the traumatic memory is.
EMDR therapy aims to heal all types of trauma. Over 30 studies have documented its effectiveness over the past 30 years for trauma associated with sexual abuse and rape, combat, childhood and neglect, life-threatening accidents, and symptoms relating to anxiety, panic, depression, substance abuse, and PTSD.
We offer EMDR therapy in Birmingham. Phinity Therapy also serve other cities and countries through our network of qualified therapists. Online therapy is also available, catering for those who cannot reach our clinic or have busy schedules.
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