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EMDR – Client HandoutWhat is EMDR?The mind can often heal itself naturally, in the same way as the body does. Much of thisnatural coping mechanism occurs during sleep, particularly during rapid eye movement(REM) sleep. Francine Shapiro developed Eye Movement Desensitisation andReprocessing (EMDR) in 1987, utilising this natural process in order to successfully treatPost-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since then, EMDR has been used to effectivelytreat a wide range of mental health problems
What happens when you are traumatised?Most of the time your body routinely manages newinformation and experiences without you being aware of it
However, when something out of the ordinary occurs and youare traumatised by an overwhelming event (e.g. a caraccident) or by being repeatedly subjected to distress (e.g
childhood neglect), your natural coping mechanism canbecome overloaded. This overloading can result in disturbingexperiences remaining frozen in your brain or being"unprocessed". Such unprocessed memories and feelings arestored in the limbic system of your brain in a "raw" andemotional form, rather than in a verbal “story” mode. Thislimbic system maintains traumatic memories in an isolatedmemory network that is associated with emotions andphysical sensations, and which are disconnected from thebrain’s cortex where we use language to store memories. The limbic system’s traumaticmemories can be continually triggered when you experience events similar to the difficultexperiences you have been through. Often the memory itself is long forgotten, but thepainful feelings such as anxiety, panic, anger or despair are continually triggered in thepresent. Your ability to live in the present and learn from new experiences can thereforebecome inhibited. EMDR helps create the connections between your brain’s memorynetworks, enabling your brain to process the traumatic memory in a very natural way
What is an EMDR session like?EMDR utilises the natural healing ability of your body. After a thorough assessment, youwill be asked specific questions about a particular disturbing memory. Eye movements,similar to those during REM sleep, will be recreated simply by asking you to watch thetherapist's finger moving backwards and forwards across your visual field. Sometimes, abar of moving lights or headphones is used instead. The eye movements will last for ashort while and then stop. You will then be asked to report back on the experiences youhave had during each of these sets of eye movements. Experiences during a session mayinclude changes in thoughts, images and feelings
With repeated sets of eye movements, the memory tends to change in such a way that itloses its painful intensity and simply becomes a neutral memory of an event in the past
Other associated memories may also heal at the same time. This linking of relatedmemories can lead to a dramatic and rapid improvement in many aspects of your life
www.getselfhelp.co.uk www.get.gg What can EMDR be used for?In addition to its use for the treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, EMDR has beensuccessfully used to treat: anxiety and panic attacks depression stress phobias sleep problems complicated grief addictions pain relief, phantom limb pain self-esteem and performance anxietyCan anyone benefit from EMDR?EMDR can accelerate therapy by resolving the impact of your past traumas and allowingyou to live more fully in the present. It is not, however, appropriate for everyone. Theprocess is rapid, and any disturbing experiences, if they occur at all, last for acomparatively short period of time. Nevertheless, you need to be aware of, and willing toexperience, the strong feelings and disturbing thoughts, which sometimes occur duringsessions
How long does treatment take?EMDR can be brief focused treatment or part of a longer psychotherapy programme
EMDR sessions can be for 60 to 90 minutes
Will I will remain in control and empowered?During EMDR treatment, you will remain in control, fully alert and wide-awake. This is nota form of hypnosis and you can stop the process at any time. Throughout the session, thetherapist will support and facilitate your own self-healing and intervene as little as possible
Reprocessing is usually experienced as something that happens spontaneously, and newconnections and insights are felt to arise quite naturally from within. As a result, mostpeople experience EMDR as being a natural and very empowering therapy
What evidence is there that EMDR is a successful treatment?EMDR is an innovative clinical treatment which has successfully helped over a millionindividuals. The validity and reliability of EMDR has been established by rigorous research
There are now nineteen controlled studies into EMDR making it the most thoroughlyresearched method used in the treatment of trauma, (Details on www.emdr-europe.organd www.emdr.org) and is recommended by the National Institute for Health and ClinicalExcellence (NICE) as an effective treatment for PTSD
Adapted from www.thetraumacentre.comwww.getselfhelp.co.uk www.get.gg
EMDR – Client Handout What is EMDR? The mind can often heal itself naturally, in the same way as the body does. Much of this natural coping mechanism occurs during sleep, …
EMDR Consultation is the BEST resource to help you learn EMDR Therapy. Plus, you’ll receive access to many more EMDR handouts, resources and demos that I’ve created for EMDR clinicians.
EMDR Therapy is a three-pronged approach that focuses on reprocessing of past events, current triggering stimuli, and adaptive rehearsal in future situations. This graphic provides a visual to illustrate this important EMDR concept. This Timeline Worksheet was created to help guide people through the process of creating a timeline of their life.
Whilst EMDR is carried out by a qualified EMDR practitioner, the following books give information on self help techniques using the tapping technique (bilateral stimulation) which is used as an alternative to eye movements during EMDR
In the case of a single trauma sustained in adulthood, there will be 1 or 2 assessment sessions, followed by 1 or 2 sessions discussing and preparing for EMDR treatment, using some preliminary exercises (e.g. safe place imagery), and at least 1 or 2 treatment sessions.