Overcome your trauma with EMDR

Feel as though you're lost?

 EMDR can help you find your way

What is EMDR?
EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is powerful and an innovative evidence based treatment developed by Dr Francine Shapiro in the 1980s.

Back in the 1980s whilst walking through a park one day Dr. Francine Shapiro noticed that she was able to reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts using nothing more than the movement of her eyes.
EMDR involves recalling stressful past events and ‘reprogramming’ your memory using positive and self-chosen belief using rapid eye movements.

Sounds too good to be true?

Recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. EMDR, is now being used for the treatment of conditions such as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How EMDR works

Ever wondered why is it that your traumatic event seems to be frozen in time? During a time of trauma powerful emotions hamper our ability to process those upsetting experiences. Using EMDR Brian Langshaw will help you to unfreeze that traumatic memories and help you continue to unfreeze those experiences until you are able to think about the event without reliving it.

Who will benefit from EMDR?
EMDR is effective in treating individuals who have experienced psychological difficulties arising from trauma experiences, such as assault, road traffic accidents, workplace accidents, war related experiences, childhood sexual and/or physical abuse and neglect, natural disasters and surgical trauma.

EMDR has been increasingly used to help individuals with other issues including anxiety, depression, pain and a wide range of psychological disorders, which the individual has not yet psychologically processed.

Process of EMDR
Most of the components in EMDR are recognisable from other well-known therapies although they are arranged in a unique order. One distinct element to EMDR is the addition of bilateral stimulation. This is usually in the form of eye movements, but auditory or tactile stimulation are other forms of bilateral stimulation, which can be used.

There is a great deal of evidence that bilateral stimulation speeds up the reprocessing of disturbing emotional or traumatic material. This stimulation assists the neurophysiological system to free itself of these blockages and reconnect. Another explanation acknowledges the eye movements induced in EMDR, mirrors the natural eye movements in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, during which information is processed naturally.

The Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) Model and EMDR
The Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model is central to understanding the way EMDR facilitates the modification of problems identified as targets for therapy.

Shapiro (2001) proposed three principles that are core to the AIP model:

  1. There is an intrinsic information system that has evolved to enable people reorganize their responses to disturbing life events so they are able to achieve an adaptive resolution.
  2. A traumatic event or persistent stress during a developmental life stage can disrupt the information processing system.
  3. Concept of self-healing that is comparable to what occurs with physical injuries. Surgeons can remove blockages to healing such as foreign objects or tumours, and create conditions favourable to healing but then must “let nature take its course”.

The AIP model acknowledges that negative events leave traces in the neural network of an individual in such a way that these cause a variety of symptoms including unhelpful beliefs about oneself, the world or future. The unprocessed and dysfunctionally stored memory information is responsible for symptoms that vary, from reliving of past traumas to anxiety, depression, and sleep problems.

The basic assumption of the AIP model is that vividness and emotionality of unpleasant representations (thoughts and memories) resulting from one or more traumatic events can be reduced through EMDR. New associations are formed between the disturbing memory and more adaptive memories or information, leading to more complete information processing, alleviation of emotional, physiological distress and development of new insights, (Solomon & Shapiro, 2008).

By accessing the dysfunctionally stored memories and stimulating the innate processing system, symptoms diminish. The process of EMDR enables access to the traumatic memory network, enhancing the adaptive processing of information.

The EMDR Treatment
EMDR involves attention to three time periods: the past, present, and future. Focus is given to your past disturbing memories and related events. It is given to current situations that is causing you distress, will help you to develop the skills and attitudes you will need for a positive future actions.
The Talking Solutions EMDR therapy approach

Phase 1: The first phase is a history-taking session(s). The Brian will assesses your readiness and develop a treatment plan. EMDR therapy is a partnership and so you and Brian will identify possible targets for your EMDR processing.

These include distressing memories and current situations that cause emotional distress. Other targets may include related incidents in your past.

Emphasis will be placed on the development of specific skills and behaviours that you will need in future situations.

Initial EMDR processing may be directed to events in your child childhood events. Most Talking Solutions clients generally gain insight on their situations, the emotional distress resolves and they start to change their behaviours.

The length of your treatment depends upon the number of traumas and the age of PTSD onset. Generally, those with single event adult onset trauma can be successfully treated in under 5 hours. Multiple trauma victims may require a longer treatment time.

Phase 2: During the second phase of treatment, the Brian will ensure that you have several different ways of handling emotional distress. Brian will also teach you a variety of imagery and stress reduction techniques that you can use during and between sessions.

A goal of EMDR is to produce rapid and effective change that will help you maintain balance both during and between each of your EMDR sessions.

Phases 3-6: In phases three to six, a target is identified and processed using EMDR procedures. These involve you identifying three things:

  1. The vivid visual image related to the memory
  2. A negative belief about self
  3. Related emotions and body sensations.

Having identified a positive belief. The Brian will help you to rate this positive belief as well as the intensity of the negative emotions. After this, you will be instructed to focus on the image, negative thought, and body sensations while simultaneously engaging in EMDR processing using sets of bilateral stimulation. These sets may include eye movements, taps, or tones. The type and length of these sets is different for each client. At this point, you will be instructed to just notice whatever spontaneously happens.

After each set of stimulation, you will be asked to let your mind go blank and to notice whatever thought, feeling, image, memory, or sensation comes to mind. If you become distressed or have difficulty in progressing, Brian will provide you with the tools you may need to get back on track.

If you reports no distress related to the targeted memory, you’ll be asked to think of the preferred positive belief that was identified at the beginning of the session. At this time, you may adjust the positive belief if necessary, and then focus on it during the next set of distressing events.

Phase 7: In phase seven, closure, you will be asked to keep a log during the week. The log should document any related material that may arise. It serves to remind you of the self-calming activities you have mastered in phase two.

Phase 8: The next session begins with phase eight. Phase eight consists of examining the progress you have made thus far. The EMDR treatment processes all your related historical events, current incidents that elicit distress, and future events that will require you to respond differently.

IS EMDR for everyone

EMDR may not be suitable for everyone and it is important that the therapy you choose fits with your needs. If it is felt that EMDR is not appropriate for you then Brian will suggest an alternative course of therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), or signpost you to another form of treatment.

Want to learn more about EMDR? Visit the EMDR Association .