Why EMDR is not a therapy that is done to clients

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Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is perhaps unusual amongst talking therapies in that it involves deliberate stimulation of a client's mind-body system through bi-lateral stimulation, its more than talking alone.  

Moving the eyes from side to side eye, listening to sounds that alternate side to side, or using a buzzer or tapping on alternate sides of the body, the therapist supports the client in accessing specific distressing memories and in processing them. 

The intent of the therapy is to alleviate the disturbance currently experienced when the memory comes up by enabling the brain's natural capacity for adapting the way information is accessed and the meaning that is made from it. The client's adaptive information processing capacity is stimulated, and the results can sometimes be rapid and significant.

It would be easy to think that the therapist is in control, and is doing the therapy to the client. This makes it especially important that therapists take great care to help client's identify and understand their symptoms, and to develop their goals for therapy. It is essential clients are empowered through clear information and are able to give informed consent for the process.

It is also essential that clients remain in control during the EMDR process. They need to be at choice about taking part, to be in partnership deciding which symptoms to target and through which processing mediums, and to understand that they can stop the process should they need to.

It is of no benefit to a client to believe that magic has taken place, or that therapy has been done to them. It is important for clients to know that EMDR simply taps into their pre-existing, natural capacity to reinterpret the past, and their potential for healing and growth. It is their unconscious that is being stimulated, and their internal process that is healing.

EMDR is a therapy you engage in. As with any talking therapy, lasting deep healing comes when you reach into your own system for the answers. All EMDR does is provide a method to facilitate this.

For respectful, enabling EMDR therapy to assist you in meeting your personal development goals, get in touch. 

To sign up for a monthly digest of mental health self-help material, visit www.ferobinsonpsychotherapy.co.uk/get-in-touch

Go to the profile of Fe Robinson, Psychotherapist

Fe Robinson, Psychotherapist

I am here to help you thrive, whatever life brings. I offer Psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and Couples Counselling to clients based in Durham. I am UKCP Accredited and an EMDR Europe Practitioner, and offer Clinical Supervision to counsellors and psychotherapists locally. I have worked in private practice, the NHS, and in charitable organisations, with a wide range of clients and conditions.

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