About EMDR

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) uses the ability of the mind to heal itself naturally, much in the same way as the body does. It can be likened to the process that happens during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

EMDR helps to process traumatic, stressful or overwhelming experiences that have overloaded our natural ability to cope and have therefore remained unprocessed, stuck and frozen in time. In other words, such unprocessed traumatic memories are stored in the limbic system of the brain in emotional form, whilst isolated and disconnected from the brain’s cortex where we use language to store memories that are more adaptive. 

Because of this disconnection, the traumatic memories can be triggered whenever we encounter events that have some resemblance to the original traumatic experience. We can then reexperience the same strong feelings that belonged to the original event, such as panic, anxiety, anger, despair. The ability to live in the present moment and learn from new experiences can therefore become inhibited. EMDR helps to make connections between the brain’s memory networks, to enable the brain to process the information and come to an adaptive resolution in a natural way.

What does it help with?

EMDR has been recognised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a treatment for PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), but can also be used effectively to treat other mental health problems, such as the impact of trauma (e.g. neglect or abuse), anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, stress, complicated grief, self-esteem and performance anxiety, addiction and physical pain.

What is an EMDR session like?

An EMDR session will address a specific disturbing memory that we mutually identify.  You will then focus on whatever thoughts, feelings, sensations, images and associations this memory brings up for you, whilst I will ask you to follow my finger backwards and forwards (to recreate eye movements as in REM sleep), or we may use a set of hand taps to achieve similar stimulation in the brain. The eye movements or hand taps will last for a short while and then stop. You will then be asked to report back on the experiences you have had during each of these sets. With repeated sets of eye movements (or hand taps), the memory tends to change in such a way that it loses its emotional intensity and becomes much more like a neutral memory of an event that happened in the past. You may find that other associated memories heal at the same time too and that progress is often rapid.

During EMDR you will remain in control, fully alert and wide awake. I will intervene as little as possible to facilitate your own self-healing of the brain and you may experience reprocessing as something that happens quite spontaneously, and that new connections and insights arise from within in a very natural way.

How long does the treatment take?

This can vary from either a handful of sessions that are focused on specific disturbing symptoms experienced in the present, or it can form a part of longer therapy treatment (with as many EMDR sessions as needed, which can also be combined with talking therapy).

A typical session of EMDR normally lasts for 75minutes.

What do I offer?

I offer EMDR sessions via a video call or face to face at my therapy practice in South Norwood (SE25). The sessions are normally offered on a weekly basis at an agreed appointment time, which is normally fixed and reserved just for you. 

The first session is an initial consultation, which is your opportunity to tell me in more detail what has brought you into therapy, what your hopes and expectations are. It is also an opportunity to clarify any questions and for us to agree on how we wish to proceed. The initial consultation will last for 50 minutes and is charged at £45.

The second appointment is a more in-depth assessment session to gain a more thorough understanding of your presenting problem and its history. This will last for 50 mins and is charged at £75.

The therapy sessions thereafter typically last for 75mins and are charged at £95.