EMDR is an evidence based psychotherapy used by trained professionals for trauma focused treatment. EMDR encourages patients to briefly focus on the trauma memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation, -typically in the form of eye movements, which is proven reduce the intensity and emotion associated with traumatic memories. EMDR therapy is internationally considered one of the most effective treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Unlike other therapies, EMDR does not require talking in detail about the distressing issue . Rather than focusing on changing the emotions, thoughts, or behaviors resulting from the distressing issue, EMDR allows the brain to resume its natural healing process through resolving unprocessed traumatic memories stored in the brain. The experience is still remembered, but the fight, flight, or freeze response from the original event is resolved.
Specific conditions treated by EMDR clinicians at Sage include:
During a EMDR therapy session, the therapist will provide psychoeducation regarding EMDR and if both therapist and patient agree that EMDR therapy is a good fit, the patient will work through the eight phases of EMDR therapy with their therapist.
The focus will be given to a negative image, belief, emotion, and body sensation related to the stressful/traumatic event, and then to a positive belief that would indicate the issue was resolved.
A standard EMDR therapy session lasts from 60-90 minutes. EMDR therapy may be used in addition to a standard talking therapy such as CBT, as an additional therapy with a separate therapist, or as a treatment all by itself.
Dr. Charlotte Cousins is Clinical Psychologist from the UK with over ten years’ experience of working with children, teenagers, adults, and families.
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