How does EMDR work?

When a person is involved in a distressing event, they may feel overwhelmed and their brain may be unable to process the information like a normal memory. The distressing memory seems to become frozen on a neurological level. When a person recalls the distressing memory, they can re-experience what they saw, heard, smelt, tasted or felt, and this can be quite intense. Sometimes the memories are so distressing, the person tries to avoid thinking about the event to avoid the distressing feelings.

Some people find that the distressing memories come to mind when something reminds them of the original event, or sometimes the memories just seem to pop into mind. The alternating left-right stimulation of the brain with eye movements, sounds or taps during EMDR, stimulate the frozen or blocked information processing system.

In the process the distressing memories seem to lose their intensity, so that they seem more like ‘ordinary’ memories. The effect is similar to what occurs naturally during REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) when your eyes rapidly move from side to side and you are dreaming. EMDR helps reduce the distress of all the different kinds of memories, whether it was what you saw, heard, smelt, tasted, felt or thought.

Many people are ashamed of feeling anxious or think they are having a heart attack when a panic attack strikes. Anxious behaviour has often been learned as a response to fear, frequently fear going back to childhood. There are a number of anxiety disorders, including phobias, OCD and general anxiety, all of which involve excessive worry. Here are some typical symptoms:

• Feelings of panic, fear and uneasiness
• Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts
• Repeated thoughts or flashbacks of traumatic experiences
• Ritualistic behaviours, such as repeated hand washing
• Problems sleeping
• Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
• Shortness of breath
• Palpitations
• An inability to be still and calm
• Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
• Muscle tension
• Nausea

If you are experiencing some of these, it is likely that we can work together using EMDR, working with the thoughts and memories that led to the anxiety behaviour originally. EMDR is part of a new way of understanding how the brain works in respect of emotional pain. The most important thing is to help you feel SAFE, whatever life brings you and, together, I can help you to do that

EMDR is also a proven element in the recovery of sex addicts, helping them to deal with traumas from their past and to reduce the impact of current triggers to acting out behaviour.