Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing

For over 30 years, EMDR has been a trusted method for helping people overcome tough emotions, past traumas, and negative thoughts about themselves. EMDR is a full-body approach to healing. It’s all about building a strong bond between you and your therapist so you can feel safe and supported every step of the way. It’s been proven time and time again: EMDR is the best way to tackle things like PTSD, tough childhood experiences, relationship issues, fears, and more. If you’re struggling with your emotions and difficult memories, know that EMDR is here to help you find peace and live a happier life. Let’s start this journey together.

Kellie Sheldon Psychotherapist, Sex therapy, EMDR therapy

How does trauma affect the brain?

Our brain processes traumatic memories differently than regular memories. Unlike regular memories that are connected to other memories, traumatic memories miss a few links. Trauma memories primarily rely on our emotions, rather than the actual experiences of sight, sound, and what was heard. Due to the lack of connection between senses and memories, the brain often does not allow healing, resulting in the “I’m no longer in danger” message being missed. Plus, new memories and experiences are often placed in the wrong area of the brain, which reinforces more negative experiences and beliefs.

We all have experienced a sound, a word, or a smell that makes us look twice or become instantly anxious. Our brain is on alert, automatically linking the present moment to the traumatic moment. The brain believes we are in danger and activates our nervous system to react to get us to safety. This response is also known as the fight, flight, freeze response.

How does EMDR work? 

Let’s work together to create a map of your memories and beliefs that have affected your life. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, and I’m here to support you through this process. We’ll explore the parts of you that are still stuck in difficult times and help them understand that you don’t need to keep experiencing that pain anymore. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. There’s a brighter life waiting for you on the other side, one where you can feel more at peace and in control. Together, we will work on building your coping skills and inner strength so you can face life’s challenges with confidence.

By holding parts of the traumatic memory, the emotion, and where the trauma appears in your body, we can use bi-lateral stimulation (eye movements, butterfly taps, or sensory sensation) to help move the trauma memory from the activated and misaligned part of the brain. This process has been shown to reduce physical trauma symptoms, and I will be here to support you every step of the way. If you would like to see a quick animated video of EMDR, there are a couple of videos at the bottom of the page.

For EMDR to work effectively, it’s important to have a sound support system, and I can help provide you with the necessary tools. I will need some history as we map out your memories and decide which ones to target. It’s okay to take things at your own pace, and we can adjust the frequency of sessions to meet your needs.

During reprocessing, you may experience a range of emotions such as bodily sensations, hearing words in your mind, or feeling numb. Please know that everyone experiences reprocessing differently, and there’s no right or wrong way to feel. After your sessions, you may experience headaches, vivid dreams, bring old memories to the surface, or feel fatigued. It’s important to take care of yourself and practice self-care during this time. Remember, I am here to support you, and we will get through this together.

What does EMDR treat?

  • Childhood trauma
  • Relationship trauma
  • Negative beliefs you have of yourself
  • Sexual trauma
  • Self-esteem
  • Anxiety and depression symptoms
  • Assists with ADHD and ASD self-acceptance
  • Single-incident trauma or events
  • Sexual difficulties – such as inability to orgasm or erectile dysfunctions (not medically caused)

For more information, please see the resources page for links to EMDR association’s web pages.

“EMDR is a bizarre and wondrous treatment and anybody who first hears about it, myself included, thinks this is pretty hokey and strange. It’s something invented by Francine Shapiro who found that, if you move your eyes from side to side as you think about distressing memories, that the memories lose their power.”

– Bessel A. Van der Volk

Below are two videos to help you understand EMDR a little bit more.
The first video is a short video simply explaining EMDR. The second is over an hour long. This video runs quickly through the 8 stages, it is a LIVE demonstration. The ‘client’ is afraid of swimming, EMDR helps her overcome this fear and she now looks forward to swimming.

Source: EMDR by Ven EMDR
Source: https://www.youtube.com/@DrJamieMM