Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. It is different from other therapies in that rather than all therapy time being spent talking, part of the session involves using eye movements and this facilitates processing of traumatic or painful memories. The therapist first spends time talking with the client, together determining which memories will be targeted and the order in which to tackle them (from least distressing to most). They then ask the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use their eyes to track the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across the client’s field of vision. As this happens, the client begins to process the memory and disturbing feelings. The process assumes that the brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes.
According to repeated scientific research studies, EMDR therapy is highly effective in a short space of time - single event trauma can be healed within eight sessions and combat PTSD within 12 sessions. The extensive research on EMDR therapy has had it recognised as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organisations such as the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization (WHO). EMDR therapy is now used not only for treating trauma, but is effective in treating the “everyday” memories that are the reason people have low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, and all the myriad problems that bring them in for therapy.
Kristen Bayliss is qualified to deliver EMDR therapy and is offering this at the Ramsgate rooms of BayWellbeing.