What is EMDR and how can it help me with upsetting memories?
When you have experienced a loss or intense fear, it can be traumatic, and this can impact you in many ways. It can negatively affect your emotions, your wellbeing, your relationships, your work and often your physical health.
Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (or EMDR for short) is an evidence-based psychological therapy that has been shown to help with the effects of past traumas. It works by processing upsetting memories so that they are no longer disturbing.
How can upsetting memories traumatise you?
Imagine for a moment, that your mind is like a library of photographs. As you go through life, your eyes are constantly taking pictures. Most of the time, your mind easily sorts these pictures into albums and files them away. These ‘processed memories’ can be talked about comfortably and you have a sense of them being in the past, like how you remember brushing your teeth this morning.
However, when something disturbing and frightening occurs, the librarian (your mind) gets overwhelmed and drops the pictures on the floor. These memories don’t get processed or forgotten very easily. Afterwards, when you try to walk about the room, you keep tripping over them.
As you’d expect, it can be frustrating. Typically, you can experience physical anxiety in your body, unwanted thoughts, nightmares, flashbacks or difficulty getting over something. It’s a bit like your mind reminding you that there’s a mess waiting to be tidied up.
How does EMDR help?
The mind can be overwhelmed by different life events. For example, have you ever suffered an assault or the loss of a loved one? Chronic trauma occurs through adverse childhood experiences like sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
Disturbing events in your life can lead to a range of issues, including post-traumatic symptoms (or PTSD), anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, depression, or ‘complicated grief’ when you don’t feel able to move on after loss. EMDR has been shown to help with all of these issues.
How does EMDR work?
The thought of working on upsetting memories might feel daunting. Before we go into it, we will get to know each other properly so you feel safe and supported. We will also build up your coping skills, so that you feel ready to take it on. For example, if you experience flashbacks, we’ll work on how to ground yourself back into the here and now where it feels safe.
When you are ready, we will use eye movements to help you process the upsetting memories. This is like how the mind processes the day’s experiences during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and you wake up feeling different.
EMDR is not hypnosis. You do not necessarily need to tell your therapist a lot of detail about the events, as long as you keep the events in your mind during the eye movements.
EMDR can be used as a brief focused treatment or part of a longer psychotherapy, combined with our other therapies including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT).
Our experience shows that EMDR is a powerful way of making sense of past experiences, so that they become less distressing and overwhelming. This can free you up to look towards your future, to build a more full and enriching life going forwards.
Call now to book an appointment
To start the process, just get in touch to book an appointment. Give us a call on tel. 0121 523 1108 or send us a confidential email.
We have a choice of qualified skillful therapists. Find the person you’d like to work with below or let us know when you’re available.
You can meet in-person at our offices in central Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Or you can arrange an appointment for online therapy using a simple, friendly and secure video platform.
What are our fees?
Sessions are priced at £80.00 for 60 minutes (£120 for 90 minutes), including the Initial Consultation. Pay-as-you-go for each appointment through a choice of simple payment methods including: bank transfer, Paypal, PayM, debit/credit card or cash. Discuss the best method with your therapist. You can use health insurance to pay for your sessions. Just get in touch to discuss the details.