After I had trained fully to be a Clinical Hypnotherapist, I then continued in my professional development and started doing regular masterclasses to explore different approaches that worked with or alongside hypnotherapy. When I did a course in EMDR it was one of those amazing moments when you just know this is one of the most incredible approaches and just how it can help so many people.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an extensively researched, effective psychotherapy method proven to help people recover from trauma, PTSD symptoms, negative thoughts, phobias, and anxieties. Ongoing research by Maxfield 2019 supports positive clinical outcomes showing EMDR therapy as a helpful treatment for disorders such as anxiety, depression, OCD, chronic pain, addictions, and other distressing life experiences. EMDR can also neutralize negative thoughts and feelings, and strengthen positive ones. EMDR can calm flashbacks and other disruptive physiological mind and body reactivity. It can help you to break free from old patterns, to enable you to enhance your quality of life by unblocking negativity from the past, distorting your present and future.
Also, you can build resilience to increase your ability to tolerate negative experiences and help you recover more quickly when they do occur. It is a natural way to reclaim personal power, by using your body’s natural healing process and allowing your mind to define the meaning of your experiences. EMDR can help remove blocks to peak performance at work or home. More exciting research carried out by Van der Kolk et al., in 2007 into EMDR therapy, has even been shown to be superior to Prozac in trauma treatment. Shapiro and Forrest (2016) share that more than 7 million people have been treated successfully by 110,000 therapists in 130 countries since 2016.
EMDR is a therapy that encourages the client to briefly focus on the trauma memory, or anxiety and the feelings that sit with this. Then the client makes bilateral stimulation with eye movements to stimulate the unconscious processing part of the brain. EMDR temporarily slows your over-stimulated amygdala down and synchronises your brain waves helping you process the traumatic memory. This suggests that during EMDR therapy the traumatic memories are continuously reactivated, replayed and encoded into existing memory networks. This part of the brain is associated with a reduction in the vividness and emotion associated with the trauma memories and anxiety habits. EMDR’s goal is to help you heal from trauma or other distressing life experiences.
Some of the possible fears or misconceptions we can have about EMDR:
Does EMDR recover repressed memories? No, EMDR doesn’t, it only assists the brain in reprocessing unstable processed memories. If the brain has locked away a memory, it has done so for a reason. This therapy will not unlock something that it is not ready for.
Does EMDR erase memory? No, EMDR technique doesn’t erase negative memories, but rather it unlocks the negative memories and emotions that are stored in the brain. Try thinking of it as a way to de-tangle and desensitize. Once the memory is de-tangled, it can be processed and, in a sense, reprogrammed.
Does EMDR release emotions? It can be cathartic at times for people but after a session, there is often a strong sense of relief, a feeling of openness, or even euphoria. Some clients may experience physical tiredness due to emotional release. This is a normal reaction to the release that takes place as you have literally just run a marathon in your mind.
You can resolve issues at any age, as EMDR may be used effectively for children, teenagers, and adults. EMDR can relieve symptoms that talking and cognitive therapies cannot address as efficiently. I have used EMDR for 25 years and combined it under hypnosis to access a deeper level of relaxation that can then be embedded into our new ways of thinking and feeling. The eye movements are similar to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which take place as we dream. Instead of our minds being stuck in the past and not being able to move out of that trapped memory or pattern, I can guide you to deal with this and allow your mind to find a new way out to reprocess the emotion-laden memories or habits, instead of staying stuck in those old memories and habits.
It is a dual-attention focus meaning that the clients are anchored in the present, but also have one foot in the past. Helping you to kickstart your natural healing process which replaces the negative or traumatic images or memories. You can view them differently so they don’t feel distressing anymore. We all have to accept that we can’t change the past, we can only change how we feel about the past. With negative thoughts, phobias, and fears, if we don’t have that level of fear, we can find it so much easier to let go of those old habits; EMDR enables you to do just that. We know on one level that our negative beliefs about ourselves are not true, but what we need to do is fully know this and believe this from deep within us. With EMDR, the change in perspective comes from within and the transformative changes feel true at a gut level. There can be a remarkable change in how people feel, from feelings of terror, sadness, or shame, to calmness and empowerment, and many more profound changes can be made.
If you want to know more about how EMDR could help you, I offer a free consultation whereby we can chat through things in more detail. Sara.