EMDR is recognised as having the highest level of research evidence for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by the Australian Psychological Society (EBPI Review 2010). Over 300 studies have been published showing EMDR to be effective for treating depression, anxiety, phobias, addictions, body dysmorphia and other mental health issues. EMDR has been used effectively with adults, but also with children and adolescents.
How does it work?
The brain has mechanisms to heal itself naturally in the same way the body does, eg, a cut on the skin. Much of the ''brain healing'' occurs during sleep, in particular during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. EMDR utilizes this natural process because sometimes the brain is 'blocked' from processing the traumatic or stressful experience. The memory continues 'frozen in time' and so continues to be disturbing when we think about it or a current event triggers that memory. Such memories have a lasting effect and interfere with the way we see the world and relate to other people, often creating avoidance of places or people that trigger the memories.
Using eye movements, tappers in each hand, or sounds moving from ear to ear (we call this Bilateral Stimulation), the therapist works through a well established protocol so that afterwards the memory is no longer disturbing. Flashbacks and nightmares cease. The client still recalls what happened, but it is not upsetting.
One or more sessions are required for the therapist to understand the nature of the problem and to decide whether EMDR Therapy is appropriate. A session usually lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. The type of problem, life circumstances, and the number of previous experiences will determine how many sessions are necessary.