First Psychology Perth – counselling | CBT | psychotherapy | coaching

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) for trauma

Our Perth centre is pleased to offer eye movement desensitisation (EMDR) therapy which is a therapy most commonly used when working with people experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How does EMDR work?

Your practitioner will ask you to move your eyes in a particular way while thinking about traumatic or upsetting memories. This replicates the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep and the process is believed to help us process difficult or painful memories allowing us to gradually come to terms with them.

Sometimes when people are very upset their brains struggle to fully process traumatic or painful memories of their experiences. As a result, they can find that their mind repeats the memories over and over again, which forces them to re-live the experience and all the emotions that went with it. This can have a significant impact on their general wellbeing and their ability to get on with life.

EMDR is believed to help the brain deal with the upsetting memories so that normal processing can resume. EMDR is not a talking therapy and while some people find it helpful to talk about the memories that are causing distress, this is not a requirement of EMDR.

When would EMDR be used?

EMDR is mainly used to help with distress resulting from traumatic and upsetting memories, such as car crashes or road accidents, physical violation or assault or the loss of a loved one. It is a popular therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder and is increasingly being used for other issues too such as performance anxiety, stress, eating disorders and body dysmorphic issues, phobias, panic attacks, pain disorders, addictions, physical or sexual abuse, grief, and personality disorders.

Is there evidence that EMDR works?

Scientific research has shown EMDR to be effective for trauma related problems such as PTSD and phobias, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Although EMDR is a popular therapy, it is important to say that it is not suitable for all types of psychological trauma or difficulty. Before beginning EMDR, our practitioners  will always undertake a thorough assessment with each client before agreeing that EMDR is the right type of approach to take. In some instances, such as where things are very complicated or a client struggles to manage things when they are distressed, EMDR may not be seen as suitable and therefore alternative approaches may be suggested – either as a way of building up to EMDR or as an alternative approach with the aim of achieving the same outcome through different means.

Find out more about EMDR or book an appointment If you would like to know more about EMDR or other trauma therapy/PTSD services or wish to book an initial session with an EMDR practitioner, please contact us. We would be delighted to hear from you.

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