What is Psychotherapy?
What is EMDR?Most of the time we can cope with what life throws at us and when bad things happen our mind heals itself just as our body does. However, sometimes an event may be so distressing that we feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. We may have nightmares and flashbacks in which we get lost in vivid memories and re-experience the sights and sounds and physical sensations of the event. It’s as if the memory has become stuck in a raw emotional state and the mind is unable to digest it and to understand that it’s in the past. We may also have physical injuries and pain which trigger memories of the event. We may try to avoid reminders of the event or try to block out associated thoughts and memories.
It’s as if our mind keeps focussing on one bit of a jigsaw puzzle. The bit we’ve got has no edges and doesn’t fit anywhere. It’s also scary and full of violent images and we can’t get away from it. The more we try to block it out, the more it pops into our mind whether we’re asleep or awake.
Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing is an evidence-based psychotherapy which uses eye movements and other methods to free-up the natural processing of the mind. This allows the distressing memory to be digested into a story which makes sense to us. Instead of one emotionally charged bit of jigsaw puzzle which haunts us and makes no sense to us a picture emerges which joins up the traumatic memory with other experiences in our life. People often report after EMDR that the memory has lost its intensity and has receded into the background – just one shape among many.
EMDR is the most thoroughly researched psychological therapy for the treatment of trauma. It is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Recent research also suggests that it is effective in treating a range of other difficulties including phobias and chronic pain.
EMDR is a powerful therapy and is not appropriate for everyone. Clinicians must be qualified mental health professionals before they can undertake validated EMDR training. It is therefore strongly recommended that you consult legitimate therapists who have completed training which is accredited by EMDR Europe and EMDR UK and Ireland. More details can be found on the websites of these organisations.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is based on research which shows that what we think affects what we feel and what we do. Problems can often develop a life of their own and can be hard to resolve without the help and support of a therapist or counsellor. CBT helps to create an understanding of how a problem keeps itself going and therefore how it can be interrupted and overcome.
What is CBT?
All human beings should try to learn before they die - what they are running from, and to, and why.
Photograph by Mark Arthern