Introduction to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
In EMDR therapy we ask the client to bring up a memory of a past event which is still having an affect on them and establish a link between consciousness and the site where the information is stored in the brain.
We do this through a set of eye movements which activate the information processing system and rebalance it. With each set of eye movements we move disturbing information – often at an accelerated rate – further along the appropriate neuro-physiological pathways until it is adaptively stored. The therapy is explained like this:-
Often when something traumatic happens, it seems to get locked in the nervous system with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings, and so on. Since the experience is locked there, it continues to be triggered whenever a reminder comes up. It can be the basis for a lot of discomfort and sometimes a lot of negative emotions, such as fear and helplessness that we can’t seem to control. These are really the emotions connected with the old experience that are being triggered.
The eye movements we use in EMDR seem to unlock the nervous system and allow your brain to process the experience. That may also be what is happening in REM, or dream sleep. The eye movements may be involved in processing the unconscious material. The important thing to remember is that it is your own brain that will be doing the healing and that you are the one in control.
Disturbing events can be stored in the brain in an isolated memory network. This prevents learning from taking place. The old material just keeps getting triggered over and over again. In another part of your brain, in a separate network, is most of the information you need to resolve it. It’s just prevented from linking up to the old stuff. Once we start processing with EMDR, the two networks can link up. New information can come to mind and resolve the old problems.
EMDR is an accelerated information processing technique. Trained therapists consistently report that during EMDR treatment their clients’ negative images, affect and cognitions become more diffused and less valid while positive images, affect, and cognitions become more vivid and more valid.
A good metaphor is that of a train travelling along its route. Initially, the information starts off in a dysfunctional form. When the information processing is stimulated, it moves like a train down the tracks. During the accelerated processing that takes place with each set of eye movements, the train travels one more stop along the line. At each plateau, or stop, some dysfunctional information drops off and some adaptive (or less problematic) information is added, just as some passengers disembark and others get on a train at each stop. At the end of the EMDR treatment, the target information is fully processed and the client reaches an adaptive resolution. Metaphorically speaking the train has arrived at the end of the line.
EMDR does not re-traumatise people and the therapist acts in a support role to allow the client to process the information and move to a more positive state of being. The first few consultations will explain the process in more depth and allow the client time to fully understand the process before any eye movement work will take place. The eye movement sessions will not progress unless the client is fully informed and happy to proceed and if eye movements cause any discomfort, tapping on the knees or clicking either side of the ears has also been found to work to activate the processing.
I would welcome the opportunity to work with you to experience this therapy which has been shown to have excellent results. I have undertaken the therapy myself and I am a EMDR Consultant. I am currently assisting clients to experience this life changing therapy. I look forward to working with you soon.
Thanking you, Carmen Southam.
0457 326 997