EMDR – Eye Movement, Desensitization & Reprocessing

EMDR is a psychotherapy that enables people to reduce the emotional distress experienced through traumatic events rather quickly. The size of the trauma doesn’t matter for EMDR to work, what matters is if you are experiencing adverse effects from a negative event in your life, then it is possible to overcome that the event with EMDR. And this can happen over a few sessions, rather than years.

It may sound like some kind of magic, but what Francine Shapiro discovered in 1987 is that if we think about a distressing memory while using eye movements, then that combination can reduce the negative effect it has on us. Quite amazing really.

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Actually, EMDR is the complete opposite to hypnosis. Where hypnosis puts you in a relaxed state where you are semi-aware, and the practitioner is using some hypnotic language to cause some change in your consciousness; in EMDR you are hyper aware. You are in a mindful state of processing. You are remembering the memory, feeling your emotions as they become activated, and your body feels alive. Plus, as the therapist, I usually say very little in these session. All the work is done by you.

Why does trauma effect me so much and how will I feel during EMDR?

When we experience something traumatic, our brain tends to locks away that moment in something like memory trunk, and stores it somewhere out the way, hoping that the experience will somehow just go away if we don’t think about it. Unfortunately, daily activities can trigger that memory and when it does, we can experience a jolt of strong emotion, even seeing images of the trauma. In time, these trigger can become more frequent and overwhelming.

It’s not that your brain is trying to hurt us by storing the trauma memory, in fact, it’s trying to protect us. However, because this memory doesn’t get processed in a timely manner, we can become fearful of the feelings and thoughts we experience when the trauma returns to us, and soon we can feel out of control, unable to stop the feelings. Overtime, we adjust our way of living to try and avoid this trauma memory but that means we are diminishing our life rather than addressing the problem – the trauma memory.

Let me give you an example of a common trauma people bring. The car accident. What people find is after a crash, the next time they get into a car or drive a car they start feeling anxious of the event happening again. Other cars might get too close which triggers the trauma memory of the accident. This then increases the fear of driving and the distress the person feels. It can get so bad, that some people stop driving altogether as to not trigger the memory.

When you start processing that memory in EMDR you might be tearful and feel afraid at first, as you did at the time of the trauma. But through the session you will likely find your agitation going down, and your experience of the trauma diminishing. And after a session more or two, all negative adverse feelings and thoughts have reduced to such a point you can think about the traumatic event without negative consequences.

Another thing to bear in mind. For some traumatic events (domestic abuse for example) you might find that after processing the memory, the way you see your world changes. It’s at this point you may find more traditional psychotherapy can be helpful to enable you to reinterpret your world and talk about how you feel. EMDR’s job is done at this point.

Please note, EMDR doesn’t make the trauma disappear from your mind, but it does lessen the effect it has on you.

How I Work:

Cost £70  per session

  1. We work online via Zoom. I do not offer in person meeting at this time.
  2. Each session lasts 50 minutes (a therapeutic hour).
  3. You will have the opportunity to message or email me between sessions. I can explain more about this during our first session.
  4. Our sessions continues as long as you still feel adverse effects of the trauma.
  5. You can switch to traditional psychotherapy/change facilitation once the EMDR treatment is concluded if you wish.

I do hope you will reach out and contact me at drew@drewcoster.com or use the contact form.