Registered Clinical Psychologist
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EYE-MOVEMENT DESENSITISATION AND REPROCESSING (EMDR)
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to reduce symptoms of emotional distress that result from disturbing life events. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.
EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment protocol. After the clinician has determined which memory to target first, he then asks the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use his eyes to track the therapist’s hand (or light bar) as it moves back and forth across the client’s field of vision. In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level. For instance, a sexual assault survivor shifts from feeling horror and self-disgust to holding the firm belief that, “I survived it and I am strong.” Unlike talk therapy, the insights clients gain in EMDR therapy result not so much from the clinician but from the client’s own accelerated emotional processes. Clients finish EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experiences that once debased them. Their wounds have not just closed, they have transformed. As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the clients’ thoughts, feelings and behaviour are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution—all without speaking in detail or doing homework used in other therapies.
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