Most people process their traumatic experiences in their lives in a resourceful way however, for some people this does not happen and they go on to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
People suffering from PTSD literally ‘re-live’ those traumatic events over and over again. The consequence of this is that they get re-traumatised time and time again.
Common symptoms of PTSD are flashbacks, inability to relax, panic attacks or even other symptom that stops you moving forward with your life.
PTSD is caused by an an over-stimulation of brain regions that are involved with memory, cognitive and emotional processing. Here, our brain goes into what appears to be a ‘freeze’ state where the traumatic memory becomes ‘frozen’ together with all the original anxiety feelings, fantasy images and negativeself-judgments that the person makes at this time.
For them it is like being ‘locked’ into a continuously stressed state in which there is no perceived excape. The consequence of suffering from PTSD is that person often tends to develop very negative beliefs about themselves, the world and especially their ability to get better.
Luckily, EMDR is a technique that can help ‘free up’ the nervous system so that the brain can begin to reprocess the experience in a natural way. The EMDR technique resembles the rapid eye movements in REM sleep or our dream sleep. This kind of sleep is thought to be important for how our daily events are processed in a safe way.
Unlike typical therapy sessions EMDR is a very structured process. During the sessions, I will sit in front of you and ask you to follow my hand movements with your eye. This can a little challenging at first but people generally get used to working this way very quickly.
EMDR has two purposes; firstly, to help desensitise people to the strong feelings they are currently experiencing by creating a bridge between mind and body so that thoughts and feelings start to work together and secondly, it is used to help them to integrate alternative healing cognitions back into that traumatic memory. So, the person’s memory of the traumatic event is still there but the person is no longer affected by it.
EMDR processing is very outcome orientated which enables people to focus on beliefs and goals that are more useful to them. It is important however, to remember that your brain is doing all the healing and that you are always in control.
Treatments for most problems range between 4-6 weekly sessions although some problems may require longer than this scheduling. After six sessions, we will evaluate how you are doing and discuss how to go forward for future treatments.
EMDR has been shown to be particularly useful in treating:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
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Working with Sherine was a positive experience. She was wise and knowledgeable, and generous in sharing with her knowledge, as well as considerate and reliable. I found that we quickly created a safe and supportive relationship from which to explore. Her humanity and compassion shone throughout.
I felt better after a course of EMDR with her, more in the present and connected to myself, as well as more forgiving, rather than being bogged down by remembering upsetting past events, having unwanted thoughts and self-blaming. I recommend her without reserve – Mary-Claire W