Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy was the focus of an in-depth Guardian article which investigates how the therapy is used to treat a whole range of psychological issues from PTSD, to depression, anxiety, addiction and phobias.
First-hand Account Of The EMDR Treatment Process
Emine Saner, the article’s author, explores the story of a person named Ben and his debiltating breakdown, triggered by flashbacks of childhood trauma. It provides insight into how the treatment works and what the process involves. The account also lends a great opportunity to hear how it feels to take part in EMDR sessions when working towards overcoming trauma:
In the early stages of treatment, says Ben: “It was like being in the event. It’s like a kind of time travel. The whole EMDR process is like a controlled flashback – you’re aware that you’re here and now, but you also feel like you’re in the body from then and re-experiencing as then.
The Background To EMDR Therapy
The article also goes on to look at how EMDR therapy was discovered along with some of the early controversy which resulted from the therapy’s unorthadox nature. Nowadays, it’s used worldwide with great success, is approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and is recognised as one of the treatment options for PTSD by the NHS.
EMDR At The Oxford Development Centre
We have been using EMDR as one of our treatments at The Oxford Development Centre for over 20 years and have found it to be a highly effective body-oriented therapy. It can provide a powerful aid in the recovery journey. The important thing is that a practitioner knows when it is appropriate to use it. As Dr Claudia Herbert explained when interviewed for the guardian article:
“Any type of therapy can be re-traumatising. It has to be used by someone who is properly trained and experienced to know when to use it and not to use it.”
The Effectiveness Of EMDR
While it is clear to highlight that EMDR may not be the right treatment for eveyone, the article introduces other succesful cases where it has had a positive influence on peoples’ recoveries. A lady named Katherine is one such example, working towards overcoming the lasting effects of childhood abuse which left her with Complex PTSD. She recounts her experiences of being treated with EMDR:
“Was it difficult to go through? Yes, but I felt in control [when] ordinarily I didn’t feel in control. It is hard work and [you have to be] open to it. It’s not a fix-all and you have to trust the person you are doing it with. Different places, or really silly things, which could be quite triggering are no longer a problem. I’m able to recognise and understand my feelings around whatever the thing is.”