Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR)

What happens when you are traumatised?

When something traumatic happens, our natural coping mechanism can become overloaded and in turn distressing/traumatic memories and feelings can become frozen in the brain and go ‘unprocessed’. These traumatic memories can be continually triggered when you experience events similar to the difficult experiences you have been through. Often the memory itself is long forgotten, but the painful feelings such as anxiety, panic, anger, or despair are continually triggered in the present.

Your ability to live in the present and learn from new experiences can therefore become inhibited. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a therapeutic approach that helps to heal the body as well as the mind, usually following a traumatic incident or series of disturbing experiences.

EMDR helps create the connections between your brain’s memory networks, enabling your brain to process the traumatic memory in a very natural way. As an example: “Do you ever feel worthless although you know you are a worthwhile person?” EMDR processing helps you break through the emotional blocks that are keeping you from living an adaptive, emotionally healthy life.

What is an EMDR session like?

EMDR uses rapid sets of eye movements to help you update disturbing experiences, much like what occurs when we sleep. During sleep, we alternate between regular sleep and REM (rapid eye movement). This sleep pattern helps you process things that are troubling you. EMDR replicates this sleep pattern by alternating between sets of eye movements and brief reports about what you are noticing. This alternating process helps you update your memories to a healthier present perspective.

What evidence is there that EMDR is a successful treatment?

EMDR is an innovative clinical treatment which has successfully helped over a million individuals. The validity and reliability of EMDR has been established by rigorous research. There are now nineteen controlled studies into EMDR making it the most thoroughly researched method used in the treatment of trauma and is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as an effective treatment for PTSD.


Dr Lombard EMDR