‘EMDR’ explained


EMDR stands for Eye-Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing.  It is a highly effective way of dealing with any symptoms you’re experiencing in the present, which may be as a result of past negative life events. These events may have happened months or even decades ago.

You may have felt feelings of being stressed, afraid, angry, or tearful and not understand why.  Maybe sometimes you feel completely overwhelmed, again without really understanding the reasons. If you focus on your body does your heart race, does your breathing become shallow, or do you even feel you urgently need the toilet? 

These symptoms are often described as, anxiety, depression, PTSD or panic attacks.

EMDR is an excellent therapy for treating symptoms like this. The therapy works very deeply within the body and the brain. It helps the two link up so you can reprocess any painful past experiences. EMDR can help you to manage these distressing symptoms and improve your well-being. 

Research shows people who have EMDR can quickly experience a significant reduction in symptoms and improvements in their well-being. This is why EMDR is recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care excellence) as a therapy of choice for conditions like PTSD.

We have a separate article here on the role of EMDR in treating trauma.

At the beginning of the EMDR therapy, you will explore your current symptoms, and the therapist will ask you to give a summary of your history including any negative life events. You’ll be asked to give a ‘headline’ of what has happened to you, without necessarily having to go into any distressing detail. If you feel comfortable, you can then progress with the therapy.  A typical number of sessions is between 10 and 20 but it does vary.

So when can I start? 

If you feel that EMDR would be helpful for you, please do contact the Counselling Centre. Sarah Brown is our experienced and accredited EMDR  practitioner who works at the centre and you can see her profile on the “Our Counsellors” page.