At Fuller Life Centre, we use EMDR therapy, which has been scientifically proven to be effective.
On this page you can find out more about EMDR therapy; how it works; what problems it solves; whether it is suitable for you, and whether it is effective when working online.
What is EMDR therapy?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) therapy is a technique that helps the brain deal with negative experiences and “undo” the emotional and cognitive damage of traumatic and difficult events. The memory of the event remains, but the trauma disappears.
In 1987, psychologist Francine Shapiro discovered that eye movements helped her to reduce anxiety and negative feelings that she was experiencing as a result of a serious illness. She began to study the phenomenon and through further research and experiments created a new therapeutic method called EMDR (EMDR).
Remarkably, the name was originally composed of three letters: EMD (Eye Movement Desensitisation), as the scientist initially focused on changing the emotional state of her patients. The Reprocessing element was reflected in the name a couple of years later, when Dr Shapiro discovered that the method also had an impact on the cognitive component, i.e. the person’s thoughts and beliefs.
How EMDR therapy works
The therapeutic effect is based on a natural neurophysiological process that takes place in our brain on a daily basis.
While we sleep, we periodically experience rapid eye movements called REM (Rapid Eye Movement), which helps the brain process the day’s events and relate them to previous experiences. There is a scientific reason for the phrase “wiser in the morning” – the body not only recovers physically, but also emotionally during the night. REM eye movements are nature’s natural way of coping with anxiety and stress.
In EMDR therapy, we deliberately use a built-in natural mechanism to “refine” experiences that the brain has partially processed – enough for physical survival, but not enough for psychological comfort and well-being.
Every event has several important components: an emotional component (feelings), a cognitive component (beliefs or decisions), and a sensory experience.
If the event has not been sufficiently processed, negative experiences arise, which remain in the subconscious and disturb the person at all levels:
- Emotions – for example, fear, shame or guilt
- Beliefs – for example, “I am powerless in the face of the aggressor” or “I am to blame for the way I am being treated
- Sensory experience – for example, a violent argument or physical aggression.
All of these elements require desensitisation (D) and reprocessing (R) in order for:
- Negative emotions and beliefs about oneself and the world go away first
- Then positive beliefs and reassurance take their place.
When a difficult or traumatic event is processed properly during an EMDR session, it remains as a memory, without triggering an emotional response.
It seems unbelievable, but feelings of helplessness, fear, or guilt are replaced by the joy of overcoming hardship, confidence and strength. The benefits of EMDR: your attitude towards that life experience is changed forever, your new feelings and beliefs, in turn, allow you to change your behaviour and, consequently, improve your quality of life.
Why EMDR therapy is effective
The EMDR method relies on two processes that are natural to our brain.
The processing of information through eye movements
Its effectiveness is so high because it does not depend on human consciousness or subconsciousness, but is ensured by neurophysiology: basic processes in the human brain occur automatically.
The principle of neural network formation
If insufficiently processed, a traumatic event can become a centre of attraction for negative emotions and experiences. Gradually, it is supplemented with similar events – linked associatively, carrying the same emotions and beliefs, and causing the same disharmonious reactions and undesirable behavior within the person. These connected events, emotions, beliefs, and reactions gradually form a neural network that grows stronger and stronger over time.
During an EMDR therapy session, not only a single event is worked through, but the entire neural network is found and worked through, element by element. The processed events and experiences associated with them become at least neutral from negative to positive and supportive in the case of complete victory.
The scientific evidence for the effectiveness of EMDR therapy
The scientific basis for EMDR therapy was originally established in Francine Shapiro’s experiments.
Between 1991 and 1997, 17 control studies were conducted confirming the effectiveness of the method. By 1999 the method was recognised by the APA (American Psychological Association) and the ISTSS (International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies), and since the year 2000, research has expanded beyond classical PTSD and continues to this day, numbering around a thousand publications
In 2013, EMDR therapy was recognised by the WHO (World Health Organisation) as an effective treatment for various types of post-traumatic disorders, including the most severe: resulting from violence, natural disasters and warfare. With its help, it is possible to untangle the difficult emotional reactions that are characteristic of patients with PTSD.
Although the client may experience strong emotions during a therapy session, by the end of each session there is usually relief and a sense of freedom from distressing experiences.
What EMDR therapy helps with
EMDR therapy brings people out of stressful situations and helps them deal with negative memories, emotions, and beliefs that rob them of their joy of living or that have significantly impaired their quality of life.
It has proven successful not only in dealing with specific traumatic events but also with a wide range of problems such as:
Anxiety and panic attacks
Addictions of various kinds, including emotional
Various phobias, including situational phobias such as
driving, public speaking, etc.
Relationship problems, including significant others
Dealing with separation and bereavement
The philosophy of the EMDR method
The philosophy of the EMDR method is based on trauma theory and analytical psychotherapy. Because of this, it combines well with other analytical approaches used in our clinic, if necessary.
Apart from the processing itself, the EMDR method includes special protocols for safety and efficacy, diagnosis and preparation for sessions.
Contraindications to the use of EMDR are mental illness and acute psychotic conditions – in these, normal brain function is impaired and any intervention could lead to unintended consequences.
EMDR therapy online
EMDR therapy online is just as effective as face-to-face work, as proven by the results of our clients.
This is not surprising, since the therapeutic effect is made by the therapist’s instructions followed by the client, so there is no difference between in-person and online.
Access to qualified EMDR therapists who specialise in your problem is made easier by working online.
The mode of delivery is determined by your preferences and the degree of comfort you can give yourself during the session:
- The clinic has all the facilities, so when you choose a face-to-face EMDR session in London, all you need to do is arrive at your appointment time. Our specialists will take care of the rest;
- If you prefer to save time on travel and choose EMDR therapy online, you will have a checklist to help you prepare for your session. We will also check everything at the first session to keep the chance of failure to a minimum.
3. Individual approach
In some cases, we recommend in-person sessions – when you contact our clinic, a therapist will diagnose each client and will be able to recommend a preferred modality.
A qualified EMDR therapist will create the conditions for successful therapy, providing support to the client both in the clinic and online.
Is EMDR therapy suitable for you?
Very likely yes.
We will use natural neurophysiological processes in the therapy and the effectiveness of the treatment is not dependent on your abilities and does not require any special mental or physical effort.
In therapeutic practice, there are probably no methods similar in power and gentleness of influence. In the hands of an experienced therapist, EMDR works precisely and hits the target, without causing additional damage to your mindor more suffering, even when it is necessary to neutralise a terrifyingly powerful and negative experience.
EMDR therapy is not suitable for severe mental illness, psychotic, borderline or personality disorders. It is also difficult to use with eye injuries that restrict pupil movement – if you have such difficulties, consult your ophthalmologist.
If you are ready to try eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing for yourself, make an appointment for a consultation with the specialists at our clinic who work with this method.
All specialists at our clinic who work with the EMDR method are internationally certified and have experience working with many clients. We are ready to help you achieve your desired results and overcome the challenges you face.
Experts work with this method
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