Therapist reflection: Using EMDR therapy

I often get asked about EMDR therapy, what it is, and how it works.

As part of my desire to demystify EMDR, I interviewed EMDR Therapy Consultant and trainer Caroline Burrows for my podcast This Complex Life [formerly Inside Social Work]. My enthusiasm for this treatment is clear, I have interviewed Caroline 3 times about this topic. 

Originating in the late 1980s, EMDR has grown significantly in popularity and evidence base, especially for treating traumatic events from childhood to adulthood. 

What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is a psychological treatment designed to help people recover from distressing life events and negative life experiences, that continue to affect their present. It’s based on the premise that the brain can heal naturally, but significant experiences can block this process.

“Our brain has a natural capacity to work toward healing… but when something significant happens, that capacity can get overwhelmed,” Caroline explains, illustrating the brain’s process and how EMDR aims to ‘kickstart’ it back into a healing state.

EMDR Therapy uses bilateral stimulation, [this is the bit that makes it stand out as an unusual type of therapy]  such as eye movements, to activate the brain’s healing process, allowing individuals to work through and resolve impacting events. 

Originally developed for PTSD, its use has expanded to treat a wide range of issues, including anxiety, depression, substance use, phobias and the effects of small ‘t’ traumas, like bullying, attachment wounds or a needle phobia. 

The therapy is structured, incorporating eight phases that go beyond mere memory processing, aiming for a reduction in symptoms and life difficulties. EMDR Therapy is applicable in various settings, from private practice to inpatient hospitals, and can be integrated with other therapeutic modalities like CBT, DBT, and mindfulness practices.

At The Therapy Hub, we have a number of practitioners trained in EMDR therapy. We are passionate about using EMDR Therapy in a range of creative and innovative ways, particularly through our tailored EMDR therapy intensives. These intensive sessions are designed for deep, focused work within a condensed timeframe, ideal for those needing accelerated therapeutic progress or with limited availability for regular sessions. This approach underscores our commitment to providing adaptable, effective mental health solutions, ensuring swift advancement towards healing and resilience.

You can find the details of the podcast interviews & episodes here

Episode 29 EMDR explained 

Episode 57 Becoming Trained in EMDR Therapy Caroline Burrows

Episode 72 Understanding EMDR Therapy  

 

By Marie Vakakis

Accredited Mental Health Social Worker

Couple and Family Therapist

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