Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychological therapy designed for working with distressing traumatic memories. The theory behind EMDR is that distress and psychological difficulties caused by traumatic experiences have not been stored in the memory properly and are unprocessed or blocked. These traumatic memories may need to become processed or unblocked, and EMDR is one psychological therapy used to do.
There is good evidence that EMDR is an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for PTSD. Within NHS North Cumbria Talking Therapies we only use EMDR as one of the treatment choices for PTSD in addition to Trauma focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
What is EMDR?
EMDR is a structured therapy which uses side to side eye movements (or tapping /sounds) while thinking about the trauma memory. This is thought to help to process traumatic memories and change distressing thoughts, images and feelings so they become a neutral past event.
During EMDR treatment you will work with your therapist and remain in control and fully alert. EMDR is not a form of hypnosis and you can stop the process at any time. Processing is usually experienced as something that happens spontaneously.