First Psychology Scotland – counselling | CBT | psychotherapy | coaching

Eye movement densensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) for trauma

First Psychology has a number of practitioners able to offer eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy (EMDR).

What is EMDR?

EMDR replicates the rapid eye movement (REM) process that happens when we sleep. The REM sleep process is believed to help process difficult or painful feelings, allowing us to gradually come to terms with them.

Sometimes when people have difficult experiences and get very upset, their brains struggle to fully process the experience and as a result they may feel that the moment becomes frozen in time, repeating itself quite vividly in their head and forcing them to re-live the experience over and over again. This can significantly impact on a person's life and cause them to see the world in a negative light. 

During a session of EMDR, you will be asked to move your eyes in a particular way while also thinking of events that have caused upset and distress. This helps the brain process the difficult memories so that normal information processing can resume. EMDR is not a talking therapy but rather a way of making a painful or disturbing memory less upsetting. However EMDR may sometimes be used alongside a standard talking therapy if it is believed this approach may help. 

What sort of trauma is EMDR used for?

EMDR is mainly used to help with traumatic feelings that have come about due to traumatic experiences. These include car crashes/road accidents, physical violation/assault or the loss of a loved one. It is a popular therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder, but it is increasingly being used for other issues too. Indeed success has been reported with the following issues: personality disorders, panic attacks, eating disorders and body dysmorphic issues, grief, phobias, pain disorders, performance anxiety, stress, addictions, and physical/sexual abuse. 

Is there any evidence that EMDR works?

Scientific research has shown EMDR to be effective for trauma related problems such as PTSD and phobias. But although EMDR is a popular therapy, it is important to say that it is not suitable for all types of psychological trauma or difficulty, and therefore the psychologist, CBT Therapist or counsellor will always undertake a thorough assessment with the client before agreeing with a client that EMDR is the right type of approach to take. In some instances, such as where things are very complicated or a client struggles to manage things when they are distressed, EMDR may not be seen as suitable and therefore alternative approaches may be suggested – either as a way of building up to EMDR or as an alternative approach with the aim of achieving the same outcome through different means.

How do I find out more about trauma therapy or book an appointment with a suitable trauma counsellor/psychotherapist, CBT therapist, or psychologist?

We would be delighted to answer any questions you may have about our trauma / PTSD services or to book an appointment for you with one of our trauma therapists. Please contact us.