What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is a type of psychotherapy that was initially developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro. It revolves around the understanding that traumatic experiences can become “stuck” in the brain, leading to emotional distress and negative beliefs about oneself. EMDR therapy aims to unlock and reprocess these distressing memories, allowing individuals to heal from their psychological wounds.

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

EMDR therapy combines elements from different therapeutic approaches, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and mindfulness techniques. The core component of EMDR involves bilateral stimulation, which can be achieved through eye movements, auditory tones, or tactile sensations.

During an EMDR session, the individual is guided by a trained therapist to focus on specific distressing memories or triggers while simultaneously engaging in bilateral stimulation. This process enables the brain to process the traumatic memories more adaptively, leading to a reduction in distressing emotions and a shift in negative beliefs.

What can I expect from EMDR Therapy?

History Taking:

We meet at my practice in Ranmoor , Sheffield. I begin by gathering information about the client’s personal history, including traumatic events and the specific symptoms they are experiencing. This helps establish a foundation for treatment planning.
Preparation: In this stage, I will help you develop coping skills and relaxation techniques to manage distress during the therapy sessions. The therapist also educates the client about the EMDR process, its rationale, and what to expect.
Assessment: I will work with you to identify the specific memories or experiences that will be targeted during EMDR therapy. You will select a particular memory related to the trauma or symptom they wish to address.
Desensitization: The core of EMDR therapy involves desensitizing the distressing memory. You will bring the target memory to mind while simultaneously engaging in bilateral stimulation, which can involve eye movements, auditory tones, or tactile sensations. I will guide you through this process, focusing on the memory and associated emotions, sensations, and beliefs. The goal is to desensitize the emotional charge associated with the memory.
Installation: Once the distress associated with the memory decreases, I help you strengthen positive beliefs and insights that emerge during the desensitization phase. This helps to replace negative or maladaptive beliefs with more adaptive ones.
Body Scan: I guide you through a body scan to identify any residual tension or discomfort related to the targeted memory. The bilateral stimulation is used again to help process and release any remaining physical sensations.
Closure: At the end of each therapy session, I ensure that you are stable and provides techniques for self-soothing and managing any distress that may arise between sessions.