What is Eye Movement, Desensitisation & Reprocessing (EMDR)?

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a structured therapeutic technique used by many psychologists which ultimately encourages the patient to briefly focus on the trauma memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (typically eye movements however some practitioners may use body tapping, pulsing hand, feet sensors or auditory stimuli). This psychological technique is highly effective in treating negative memories which may impact patients’ daily lives/functioning and as such patients report a considerable reduction in the vividness and emotion associated with the trauma memories. Whilst EMDR can assist trauma/PTSD patients, it is also helpful in reducing problematic or debilitating conditions such as depression, anxiety, repetitive behaviours (OCD) and attachment issues.

Whilst EMDR appears to approach psychological issues in an unusual way, it’s development and success is considerably researched so much that it has become an evidence-based recommended treatment approach for trauma patients by multiple Australian and Global Psychological Bodies to assist those recovering from trauma-based conditions. It does not rely on talk therapy or medications. Instead, EMDR uses a patient’s own rapid, rhythmic eye movements. These eye movements dampen the power of emotionally charged memories of past traumatic events.

EMDR uses the natural healing ability of your body. Eye movement is recreated similarly to how REM Sleep works to file away stressors and positive experiences of the day. When the eye movement process is repeated over and over, the memory tends to change in a way where it loses its painful intensity and simply becomes a memory of the past. Other associated memories may also heal at the same time. This linking of related associated memories can lead to rapid and dramatic improvement in many aspects of your life.

The EMDR Session takes the patient through 8 phases of the EMDR process. As such EMDR works more effectively when completed over a double session to allow the ‘new response’ to old triggers imbed itself into the memory.

Please note that EMDR is ‘only’ recommended for patients whom have attended several therapy sessions prior with the same practitioner at our clinic so the therapist can establish a history of the trauma, condition/s and experience of the patient to ensure it is a suitable treatment approach.