Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy

EMDR therapy is a relatively new cognitive-psychotherapeutic technique that is becoming increasingly more popular. It has been scientifically proven as an effective treatment for trauma. EMDR therapy works on releasing distressing emotions stored in the memories of disturbing events.

EMDR therapy provides relief to those suffering from the effects of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), relational trauma and childhood trauma. EMDR therapy is not only an effective technique in treating major traumatic events and PTSD, but it is also very effective in treating the everyday memories that are the reason people experience low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, anxiety and depression.

Our EMDR therapy helps to produce results in relatively short time frames, affording emotional release in as few as four to eight sessions. Each week can see you earn tangible relief from distressing emotions and see you make meaningful progress towards your goals.

EMDR therapy is effective in treating:

  • Trauma
  • Phobias
  • Panic attacks
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Deeper underlying anxiety
  • Depression
  • Relational trauma
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Childhood trauma eg. bullying
  • Psychological and emotional abuse
  • Intrusive memories or flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Low self-esteem or self-worth
  • Complicated grief
  • Addictions

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you most probably have experienced some form of trauma in your past for which you have unresolved emotions related to a past disturbing experience. Know that you do not have to put up with these symptoms and live that way, there is a solution, its called Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing or EMDR.

Psychological trauma is where the mind has been damaged as a result of a severely distressing event. When a person experiences trauma, the overwhelming amount of stress they endure, exceeds their ability to cope, or integrate the emotions involved with the experience. As a result, the trauma leads to incompletely processed or unresolved thoughts and emotions surrounding the event at the time. When a distressing event or traumatic experience occurs, we are sometimes unable to completely and fully process the thoughts and emotions associated with it. As a result, we store the experience as a disturbing memory in the form of an image, a belief about ourselves, an emotion and a bodily sensation, deep in the subconscious mind.

Sometimes an event can be so disturbing you can momentarily dissociate from yourself because you don’t want to feel these emotions. This is often what causes a gap between networks of information in the brain and prevents the resolution or complete processing of the thoughts around the event. Due to the painful or uncomfortable emotions that were created at the time of the disturbing event, a fear was attached to the memory which leads to a belief based on that fear; a fear of being emotionally or physically hurt again if that event reoccurred. The subconscious does not know the difference between real or imagined hurt. Similar situations that may unconsciously or consciously remind you of the past traumatic event, can trigger these painful emotions again and again, causing much distress. You may not be consciously aware that you are being triggered and therefore you may not know why you are experiencing anxiety or emotional distress.

The beliefs and perceptions that we create and store in our subconscious, create our filters, the lens through which we see and experience the world around us. Filters represent how we perceive the world, or the way we believe the world is, based on the experiences we have had in our lives. Triggers are perceptions or associations that occur in the present that you relate or associate with a negative past event or memory which trigger you into feeling negative emotions. Triggers include any sensory perception that reminds you of a past disturbing event, for example the smell of a particular perfume, an image or object, and certain sounds or situations. Such disturbing memories and triggers can have a lasting negative effect. They may interfere with a person’s perception of situations and interactions, the way a person functions in daily life, and the way they relate to others.

Our minds filters can be likened to an old movie projector. The lens through which the light is focused through, is our subconscious mind and the memories, beliefs and perceptions of past events are any filters that may be placed in front of the lens. The screen with which the light is focused onto, is our life. Without any filters in front of the lens, pure white light would stream through the lens onto the screen. However, if we were to place rose tinted filters in front of the lens, this would show up as rose-coloured light on the screen. Likewise, if a piece of lint was on the lens, then this would show up as a distorted image on the screen. If you have a distressing memory distorting your perceptions in the present, you will continue to experience emotional problems due to negative past event unless those issues are resolved at the subconscious level. That is, we repeat what we don’t repair.

The aim of EMDR is to remove or clear any unwanted filters, triggers or negative self-defeating beliefs or” lint” that is blocking the full amount of light coming through the lens. This is so that you can experience your life joyfully and fully without any past distressing emotions, fears, or self-defeating beliefs distorting your vision and perception of the present.

Research has shown that the mind can heal from psychological trauma much the same way as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. If the psychological system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes.

EMDR is a specialized technique which has been scientifically proven to help people experience relief from negative emotions associated with memories of traumatic events. It has helped many people release distressing emotions that have been holding them back for perhaps years, or even decades. The purpose of the technique is to eliminate any triggers from the past, allowing you to think clearly and feel better in the present so that you can move forward in the direction you want to go.

In 1987, while taking a walk in the park, psychologist, Dr. Francine Shapiro discovered the healing qualities of EMDR, when she realized that bilateral eye movements appeared to decrease the negative emotion associated with her own distressing memories. EMDR is a powerful cognitive-psychotherapeutic technique which has been successful in helping many people to release distressing emotions associated with memories of disturbing events. EMDR is a process which allows you to travel back in time to the traumatic event and complete the processing of the thoughts you had at the time. This reprocessing enables a person to bring the unresolved thoughts to a peaceful resolution, enabling them to relax and feel a sense of well-being in the present. EMDR therapy provides a nurturing and soothing environment where you feel safe to face and resolve any memories which are causing you emotional distress.

Basically, what happens in a session is that once the target memory has been identified, you will be asked to bring up just a few key components associated with the memory to avoid raising your stress levels. The therapist will then proceed to stimulate your subconscious minds own information processing system using bilateral eye movements. The eye movements that we use in EMDR, are similar to the eye movements that occur in dream sleep called Rapid Eye Movements (REM) and help to stimulate a person’s own psychological information processing. Research has shown these bilateral eye movements to be successful in helping you reprocess the memory to a more positive resolution. These bilateral eye movements help stimulate a person to create new positive and spontaneous cognitive insights which replace the old negative thoughts and disturbing emotions allowing a person to experience relief from past trauma. The eye movements help to establish a link between the distressing memory and other networks of information that hold new insights necessary to resolve the feelings associated in the old memory. This connection with new information is what has been needed to take place for the disturbing memory to be resolved. There was a piece of information that you were prevented from accessing at the time of the event which was needed to restore and resolve the memory completely. As a result, the negative feelings and thoughts associated with the disturbing memory are transformed and the person becomes desensitized to the traumatic experience.

Immediately following an EMDR session, clients report that when they think back to the disturbing experience, they may be able to remember that the event happened, however the emotional distress once associated with the memory, has been eliminated or greatly reduced. They have essentially been “desensitised”. They state they immediately feel more confident as a result of the spontaneous cognitive insights gained during the EMDR session. Immediately following an EMDR session, people state that they have more clarity, feel more relaxed and have a more positive outlook on life. The important thing to remember during this therapy, is that it is your own brain that will be doing the healing and that you are the one in control. Clients have reported to have experienced positive behavioural changes almost immediately following the session.

Years or perhaps even decades of unresolved and unprocessed feelings and thoughts as a result of past negative events can be processed in four to eight sessions. This significantly reduces the healing time to weeks or months rather than years that “talking therapy” can often take. EMDR therapy is not only an effective technique in treating major traumatic events and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) but it is also very effective in treating the everyday memories that are the reason people experience low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, anxiety and depression.

Each week can see an individual undergoing EMDR therapy experience tangible relief and make meaningful progress towards their goals. Once a particular memory, belief system or thought pattern has been reprocessed, people state that they immediately feel a sense of clearing, spaciousness and lightness in their body, particularly their chest region. They feel more open, relaxed and calm and their anxiety and symptoms have been eliminated or significantly reduced. They feel more confident, in control and motivated and they are able to create more flexible solutions to problems and manage stressful situations. They describe they feel joyful, happy and feel they have regained a youthful sense of freedom and enthusiasm for life. They describe feelings they felt as a teenager or when they were younger, feelings and emotions they couldn’t remember feeling for a very long time. People state that they begin behaving differently and they no longer notice things that once bothered them. Overall people say they experience a greater sense of well-being and zest for life.

EMDR therapy has shown to be successful in the treatment of; PTSD, complicated grief and depression, physical, sexual, psychological and emotional trauma, childhood trauma, bullying, phobias, panic attacks, intrusive memories and flashbacks, addictions, nightmares, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Over 100,000 clinicians throughout the world use EMDR therapy. Millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 25 years and it is a true pleasure to share this wonderful healing technique with you.

If you are suffering from the effects of trauma, please don’t hesitate to call us on 0424 952 038 at Harmony Hypnosis so we can help you identify and resolve the underlying cause of your distress. There is a solution.