EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITIZATION AND REPROCESSING (EMDR) THERAPY
EMDR is a powerful therapy that was developed to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is recognised by the World Health Organisation and is recommended in the NICE Guidelines as a treatment for PTSD due to the evidence for it's effectiveness at resolving PTSD symptoms.
EMDR is the treatment I prefer to offer for trauma. This is predominantly because it tends to have relatively rapid effects. It is not unusual for a single event trauma to be resolved within less than six sessions, if there are no complicating factors such as previous trauma or other mental health difficulties. In addition, unlike trauma focused cognitive therapy (which I also offer) it does not require the client to discuss the trauma in detail, which is particularly helpful if the traumatic experience is associated with feelings of shame or humiliation.
When we experience traumatic events, the situation can be so overwhelming that the brain cannot fully process what is happening. This means that the event can be stored in the brain as a raw, sensory memory, rather than a stable long-term memory. This means that the raw memory is easily triggered and when this happens the person typically relives the event through flashbacks in which the person feels like they are back there at the time, which is, not surprisingly, very distressing.
During EMDR the trauma memory is reprocessed so that the brain can turn the vivid, raw trauma memory into a long-term memory. By thinking about the trauma during EMDR the person also becomes desensitised to the memory, meaning that the emotional disturbance associated with the memory reduces.
There is a wealth of information about EMDR on the website for the EMDR Association (see the link below), including details about how EMDR works and the online delivery of EMDR.