Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing
What is EMDR?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. It was developed by Dr Francine Shapiro, who by chance found that eye movements reduced the intensity of disturbing thoughts, under certain conditions.
EMDR is a worldwide renowned Level 1 Treatment method for Trauma (PTSD). For a single episode trauma research shows can resolve the trauma memory in as little as three sessions for 85% of our clients.
It is also showing promising results in the treatment of a range of mental health conditions including personality disorders, panic attacks, complicated grief, disturbing memories, eating disorders, performance anxiety, stress reduction, and addictions.
The goal of any trauma is to remove the emotional response from the original event, but what stands EMDR apart from the other therapies is that the client does not have to talk in detail about the event, and that it can be used on anyone who has had an adverse life event ( traumatic in some way) and does not require exclusively for people with a diagnosis of PTSD. An adverse life event could be from a critical parent yelling at you when you were younger, it could be from being laughed at in front of your peers in the school yard, it could be a grief reaction. These adverse life events can leave a mark because of your brain processing at the time and the linking of the event with those negative emotional states that the brain identifies this is a threat and so you are kept on alert for similar types of scenarios in the future.
EMDR works on the information processing in the brain and in particular with the disorder of memory. When a person’s survival brain is activated ( fight versus flight) the memories are encoded with the horrible emotions that go with the experience (fear, panic, dread, agitation, anger). As this is triggered and these memories are remembered, people say they feel like they are going through it again for the first time, and relives the images, sounds, smells and feelings when the event is brought to mind.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the information processing and the unlinking of these emotional responses ( images, sounds and smells) from the experience and alleviates the distress.
The EMDR Association of Australia (EMDRAA) is a professional association of mental health professionals dedicated to the highest standards of excellence and integrity in EMDR. EMDRAA sets the standards for training, evaluates continuing education programs, and maintains programs and listings of EMDRAA Approved Practitioners.
All our practitioners are trained under EMDRAA and continue their professional developments through the EMDRAA community.
A typical session would take 60 to 90 minutes The number of sessions depending on a range of factors such as the type of problem, life circumstances, and the amount of previous trauma or adverse life events will determine how many treatment sessions are necessary. EMDR may also be used within a standard talking therapy or as an adjunctive therapy, or a treatment all by itself.
Kristie Clarke is a Clinical Psychologist trained in EMDR.
For further information you can contact our office, or book an appointment to see Kristie to discuss your situation.