Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Who is EMDR for?

Therapy5Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy, commonly referred to as “EMDR”, is a type of therapy predominantly used to help people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

How Does EMDR Work?

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy was initially developed as an approach to treat trauma and combines exposure-based therapy with a back and forwards movement of the eyes induced by the therapists moving finger.

When someone experiences a trauma the brain does not always process and store the event as it usually would, i.e. as a memory that when triggered is easily and reassuringly identified as just a memory. Instead the trauma is processed and stored in a way that when it is triggered, makes it hard to distinguish it from reality, i.e. the memory is accompanied by all the sensory information that was present when the event occurred making it feel as if it is once again actually happening.

EMDR helps you to reprocess and store the event in a usual way that will allow it to feel like a memory when it is triggered and eventually, like other memories, begin to fade.

A Recent Testimonial

“I would just like to say a big thank you for everything you have done for me.  When I came into therapy I had no idea in what way it could help, in the past I thought honesty was the answer to all and since I had already achieved that I was unsure how therapy would work for me.  I never thought it would be so, but I honestly believe that having a fuller comprehension of myself has really helped me come to terms, understand and be at peace with myself.  I feel much more grounded and in no way out of control”.
Philippa - Marylebone

What the Research into EMDR Says

Research suggests the use of EMDR in patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder results in rapid recovery time compared to some other psychotherapies.  Additionally, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recognises EMDR and Trauma-focused CBT as treatments of choice for PTSD.

Numerous control studies show that Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy is better than no therapy in the case of trauma but no research study has yet to show that it is better than exposure based therapies (such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).  Recent research has shown that whilst EMDR leads to quicker decrease in symptoms than trauma-focused CBT, the post-treatment symptoms of patients is equal for both treatments.

Although some supporters of EMDR therapy have suggested that it can also help those problems other than PTSD such as Anxiety, Abuse and Sleep Problems or Insomnia, there is currently no evidence to support this recommendation.

More Reading on this Subject

For more information, see The Counselling Directory – EMDR

Recommended Books:

EMDR: The Breakthrough “Eye Movement” Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma by Francine Shapiro


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All of our Therapists offer Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EDMR) counselling, click here to view the team.