Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing 

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an intervention founded and developed in the 1980s by an American Clinical Psychologist, Francine Shapiro. Since then, EMDR has drawn much attention for its effectiveness in treating trauma, particularly single episode traumatic events. It is not a Talking Therapy.

Increasingly, scientific research and anecdotal evidence is supporting the use of EMDR for phobias, depression, anxiety and chronic pain.

EMDR is a leading evidence-based treatment for PTSD and is recommended by groups such as the World Health Organisation.

The treatment is based on the Adaptive Information Processing system which states that some events in an individuals’ life are not fully integrated into the usual memory network which would normally render the memory neutral.  Instead, the memory of an event – including the beliefs, body sensations and feelings that were initially experienced during the event – get maladaptively stored and can then be re-triggered by present day situations.  Depending on the severity/nature of the traumatic memory and emotion, this can cause an individual unnecessary distress in their current life due to the past events.

Bilateral brain stimulation (usually through rhythmic eye movements) enables ‘stuck’ memories to become desensitised and adaptively integrated and stored in the brain  – similar to the REM stage of sleep which processes events of the day and ‘detoxes’ the brain each night.


If you would like to know more, and discuss whether EMDR may be an effective intervention for you, please contact Emma Hockley for an appointment.



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