What is EMDR Therapy? EMDR Therapist in London
EMDR therapy (Desensitization and Reprocessing through Eye Movements) is a therapeutic approach based on scientific evidence that demonstrates its effectiveness in improving a series of situations with a psychological basis, such as: anxiety, sexual problems, post-traumatic stress disorders , relationship difficulties and performance improvement. If you are looking for the best emdr therapist london then you are at the right place
It is usually a shorter duration therapy and can be used in clinical work with children, adolescents and adults.
This form of therapy has some characteristics that, initially, may seem strange: at some point during the treatment, the patient follows with his/her eyes, moving from one side to the other, the movements that the therapist makes in the air with the fingers in opposite directions.
At the same time, the patient will focus on a predetermined traumatic memory, in addition to observing their bodily sensations linked to the negative record. Bilateral stimulation (so called because it is done on both sides of the body) can also be tactile (light tap on the knees, for example) or sound.
But how so? How does this therapy work?
The basic idea of this form of therapy is the following: sometimes, in our lives, things happen that we don’t have enough psychological resources to deal with (traumas). This lack of psychological resources can be due to several reasons:
1) Because we were very young (mainly children/adolescents) and had not yet built up resources to deal with adversity.
2) Because we were unable to process the events that happened (such as when under the influence of alcohol or other drugs or in delicate situations, such as during sexual intercourse or in unfamiliar environments with no support network).
3) Because the event had a very strong force or happened very unexpectedly , as in cases of very violent robberies, kidnappings and significant losses (deaths, abrupt terminations of relationships, etc.).
In this way, memories linked to these events that were not properly processed may arise . They become isolated and cannot join the rest of our memories in a proper or “adaptive” way. It’s like they’re frozen, in our brains, in a raw form.
Using a metaphor, we could think of traumatic memory as being in a separate box or capsule from memories that have been well processed. The problem is that, even without us being aware of it, these “encapsulated” memories interfere with our psychological functioning, which can cause suffering in the present, such as anxiety, low self-esteem, relationship problems (for example, difficulty bonding), sexual problems or hinder our performance (at work, in studies, in physical activities).
EMDR Therapist London
In EMDR therapy, these “capsule” contents will be reprocessed and reintegrated with other memories. In the safe environment of therapy and with a trained professional, the patient will have a new chance to process traumatic memories in a healthier way. After reprocessing, remembering will not be as painful as it used to be, and previously traumatic events may no longer hold back the client’s present and future life.
However, these “capsules” do not need to be conscious, in fact, they often are not.
It may still happen that the person believes that the past event (or its record in memory) is, today, irrelevant, therefore, it would not cause major inconvenience. However, when the subject is touched on in therapy, it can be discovered that the memory linked to certain events is emotionally charged and still has an effect in the present moment because it was not properly processed when it happened. It is not uncommon that, during reprocessing, forgotten memories, however, with negative reflections in the present, come to the surface and can be worked on.
Thus, an important task of EMDR therapy is to find connections between current suffering and memories not properly processed, and then reprocess them. Once the memory causing the difficulties has been processed, the sufferings brought to the therapy can be eliminated or significantly reduced.
How did EMDR therapy come about?
The Dr. Francine Shapiro, creator of EMDR therapy, was an American psychologist and said that one day, in 1987, she was walking in a park thinking about some things that disturbed her. As with many other serendipitous scientific discoveries, she noticed that as she made movements with her eyes, her distress lessened.
Intrigued, she began researching and experimenting on the subject, discovering that isolated eye movements did not cause complete therapeutic gains. In this way, the psychologist inserted other elements into her therapy approach, including cognitive elements, such as the investigation of negative beliefs linked to the memories we have about certain events in our lives.
Shapiro undertook the first experiments to verify the effectiveness of the new form of therapy. She noticed early on that subjects suffering from traumatic memories who underwent eye movement therapy did better than those who just visualized and described traumatic images. This was just the beginning of several studies proving the effectiveness and feasibility of this therapy.
Based on numerous studies by other researchers, patient feedback, and experience using the therapy, Shapiro developed a complete protocol (which has eight phases) for delivering the new form of psychotherapy.
In 1991, the therapy, which was previously called just EMD (Eye Movement and Desensitization) was renamed by Francine as EMDR (Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing or Desensitization and Reprocessing through Eye Movements) to emphasize the cognitive aspects involved in the therapy and identify the explanation that the psychologist/researcher gave for its operation, based on her theory on information processing.
Several independent studies on this form of therapy have been carried out since 1989 with very promising results, especially in cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition in which a traumatic past event triggers a series of reactions in the present, bringing enormous suffering to people. who suffer from this condition.
Thus, this psychotherapy began to be widely used in war veterans. These people, traumatized by bombs, deaths and air attacks, when they returned home, could have an extreme emotional reaction to a simple object falling to the floor or a door slamming because they associated the noise with the events of war. After EMDR treatment, in most cases, these relationships were broken, traumatic memories were reprocessed and people were able to lead a more peaceful life.
If war traumas could be treated with EMDR, could “civilian” everyday traumas also be treated with this form of therapy? This question has been answered through several studies demonstrating the effectiveness of EMDR for the most diverse psychological sufferings. Soon, we will see the diversity of situations in which EMDR can be applied, but first, let us understand a little what trauma means.