Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

The Peter Bowes Consultancy

What does it do?
EMDR creates the kind of activity that assists your brain to process stuck and often painful thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, sounds and smells associated with both know and unknown past events. It helps you arrive at a resolution with which you can live without the same distress. Past painful events can become an unfortunate, sad, or regretted memory but they no longer give rise to the emotional and physical pain that happened before treatment.

Why might it work?
EMDR is one of the more recent psychotherapy tools. It has become established rapidly and is a treatment of choice according to NICE for post trauma stress disorder in particular. It is a complex integrative method of therapeutic intervention that uses a particular protocol. And it is now supported by a significant amount of recent respected research which shows that it is effective in a shorter time that other treatments.

The most popular theory relates what is happening to REM sleep - that movement of the eyes behind the eyelids at certain points in your sleep cycle. The thought is that during this period the brain is processing and "making sense of" the sensory data of the day and filing it away as part of your story for subsequent access and use. And there is plenty of neurological research to support this claim. In simplistic terms, that part of the brain that responds to your senses, touch, taste, sight, sound, smell, (the don-declarative brain) works at a faster frequency than that part of your brain that allocates meaning to that sensory input. It seems that it is possible that the sensory response is sometimes so significant, that the subsequent 'making sense, or 'filing away', is not completed adequately. Now the initial response of feelings, bodily sensations, sounds and smells are stuck in the wrong part of the memory. This when the senses are triggered in similar ways again, these feelings, bodily sensations, sounds and smells are re-experienced and are unpleasant. These are sometimes called "flashbacks" and do not have to bring back the whole event to be called by this term.

What can it do for me?
Many persons find the experiences of these re-emerging feelings very disturbing. Some will know the event to which they refer. Others may have suffered multiple experiences of shock, trauma associated with assault, abuse, shame and humiliation, loss, which try as they may, cannot be put out of sight, ignored or managed even though they have tried to do so for many years. This can mean that there are places you cannot go, roads on which you will not drive, relationships that you must avoid, intimacies you cannot bear, sounds that cause significant distress, TV scenes that give rise to alarm and these are only some of the concerns that human beings live with as best they can.
There is real hope that the painful events or traumas behind these difficulties can become normal memories without these symptoms. Other therapies may well get you to this place. EMDR can bring about alleviation of symptoms more quickly but it can also resolve a "stuckness" which has remained stubbornly for many years or just months.

What might you have to do?
You will be introduced in a non threatening way to the various ways in which that eye movement can be repeated by you while thinking about the original incident or images. Of course you would want to be sure you were fully confident in me as your therapist before commencing and I would ensure that this was so. If eye movement did not suit you for any reason, then the your brain will respond to sounds or taps in the same manner and you can choose what feels right for you. Three one and a half hour sessions will be needed at least and work well for single events that trouble you. More long term and complex presentations may well take a lot longer and involve other forms of therapy.

Formally, I have completed recognised training in EMDR with two of the leading trainers in the UK.
I am an Accredited EMDR Practitioner (UK and Ireland Association)

You can contact me at peterjohnbowes@gmail.com

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