Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is an evidence-based approach to post-traumatic stress disorder that is also now applied to other difficulties such as low mood. It was developed in the United States by Francine Shapiro and involved the processing of trauma memories using a particular type of sensory stimulation.

The original approach used eye movements (moving our eyes left to right, repeatedly, at speed), which was found to help trauma memories become less intensely emotional. They later discovered that this approach extended to any repetitive sensory stimulation on either side of the body – noise, touch, vision. This is sometimes now referred to as ‘bilateral stimulation’ (BLS). This stimulation is now achieved via headphones, vibration pads or a light bar.

This approach can make rapid progress with trauma memories, such as a car accident, work-place accident, natural disaster or physical attack.

It has also been shown to be effective with physical, emotional or sexual abuse. There is less emphasis on providing a clear narrative of the event, as the processing takes place internally, which is sometimes what people prefer.


Consultant Clinical Psychologist in Enfield and Online

e: daniel@skehantherapy.co.uk

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Daniel Skehan HCPC Psychologist

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