EMDR : Getting Past Your Past
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The path before me leading wherever I choose.
Walt Whitman – Song of the Open Road
What is trauma?
Traumatic experiences can leave you struggling to function and enjoy life – stuck in stress responses, unable to relax and feel safe, vulnerable to being ‘triggered’, hijacked by flashbacks, your confidence self-esteem and resilience undermined, feeling out of touch with your emotions, finding it hard to think clearly or take the actions you might need to, going around in circles, feeling powerless or unable to trust relationships or the world at large.
Sometimes you solve one problem and another pops up and takes its place – life becomes dispiriting, exasperating, an exhausting joyless slog. The rut deepens sapping your hope.
You survive – but perhaps without important parts of yourself and your life feeling intact and robust. You develop coping mechanisms, sometimes healthy – sometimes less so – sometimes creating problems of their own – as you try and numb distressing thoughts, feelings, or memories, or avoid what you have learned to fear or just get through each day.
In recent years there has been a huge amount of research going on around the impact of both one-off traumatic experiences – acute or incident trauma – and chronic, complex and developmental trauma, and there is now a large body of evidence about its wide ranging impacts – and – even more importantly – approaches to successful treatment and resolution and post-traumatic growth.
Trauma can also have a lasting and far reaching impact on your functioning if it happens early in your life when your brain is still rapidly developing and adapting to your environment, and especially when your trusted adults play a part in the trauma.
Time can be a healer, but when trauma does not easily resolve on its own EMDR can be a powerful tool to help us move forward.
EMDR is the NICE recommended treatment for trauma, PTSD and an increasing range of mental health conditions https://www.nice.org.uk/search?q=emdr and there is an ever-growing body of research into its use as a mental health treatment https://www.emdr.com/research-overview/.
How does EMDR work?EMDR works by a combination of facilitated graduated desensitisation, whilst using dual attention to stop important parts of the brain from shutting down due to associated stress, so that the traumatic experience can be put in the past where it belongs, instead of being re-experienced over and over again as if it was happening now.
EMDR breaks the vicious circle of overwhelm and harnesses the natural healing mechanisms we have in REM sleep to rebuild your confidence and capability to withstand and integrate remembering and still being able to go on with living.
You don’t have to talk about the details of your experiences, and this therapy doesn’t involve challenging ‘negative thoughts’ or ‘faulty thinking’, or completing homework worksheets. Feeling and thinking in ways that make it challenging to feel relaxed and happy are not seen as the cause of distress – they are a symptom – a consequence of the body and brain being unable to recover on its own from the overwhelm caused by the traumatic experience. The eye movements you will make with your therapist will enable experiences to be processed so that you can move on. Research suggests that outcomes are often sustained and integrating EMDR treatment into psychotherapy can accelerate trauma recovery significantly.
What does an EMDR session involve?There are some similarities and some important differences between an EMDR session and a standard traditional psychotherapy session.
We will most likely follow a structured protocol and sessions may be more directive, with more questions and activities than a traditional psychotherapy session.
In preparation for your session its likely we will begin by establishing a detailed history, making an assessment – which may involve filling in some questionnaires and identifying a treatment strategy with you. We will broadly discuss what traumatic experiences you have endured, how it affects you, and what improvements you hope to see after treatment.
This approach might feel unfamiliar at first – try not to worry – we will proceed with your trauma recovery in a structured way, moving through three broad stages.
How we will meetFinding the right EMDR therapist is really important. You may wish to have a free initial phone consultation to give you an opportunity to find out how we might work together.
Our one to one sessions can be conducted face to face in the consulting room in Egerton.
We can get started quickly and work longer term if you need to.
Session fees for one to one EMDR sessions are £150. Sessions usually last between 90m – 2hrs. If we agree we need a longer session, we will pre-agree a pro-rata fee.
Book your free consultation
I offer a free initial phone consultation to give you an opportunity to find out how I can help you.
Simply enter your details into the form and I will contact you to discuss your requirements in more detail.