EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. It is a form of therapy developed specifically for helping people move on from traumatic memories that keep them stuck. These traumatic memories could be about matters as diverse as a car accident, a burglary, being bullied at school, losing a loved one, an unfair dismissal from a job, or even a presentation that didn’t go well.
When you cut your finger, the human body knows how to heal it – normally. We also have an inbuilt mechanism for emotional processing, ie the healing of distressing events. But sometimes, this mechanism doesn’t work, and you experience an event from the past having much more validity in the now than it should have. You may experience flashbacks, intrusive thoughts. You may go to great lengths to avoid thinking about the event, or the places or activities connected with it. You may not be able to behave the way you would like in certain situations, because the trauma still feels very present. It may leave you with limiting beliefs such as, “I’m not safe”, “I must never make a mistake”, “I’m a bad person”.
EMDR aims to remove the barrier so that you can begin connecting the positives and the safety of the present with the pain of the past – on a deeper level than the intellectual.
You don’t need to have experienced complex and severe trauma to benefit from EMDR. EMDR can be used alongside, and integrated into, your CBT therapy. If you find, for example, in the course of your therapy, that you have a long-standing limiting belief of, “I’m not good enough”, this could be tackled with EMDR, to help you work towards, “I am good enough” – potentially faster and more lastingly than with other methods. And yes, EMDR works nicely via Zoom, Skype and FaceTime, too… Read more about EMDR here.
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