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Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapeutic approach that utilises bilateral stimulation to support the reprocessing of traumatic information that has become 'stuck' in the brain. Initially developed to treat PTSD, the evidence-base for EMDR has grown to include a variety of other conditions where memories are a factor. During EMDR sessions, the therapist will ask the client to focus on a particular memory or event, whilst tracking the therapist's hand as it moves back and forth across their field of vision. This allows the client to work through the memory, leading to changes in emotional responses. The effectiveness of EMDR has been confirmed through numerous studies, and it is recommended as a treatment option for PTSD by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

If you have experienced a traumatic event or multiple traumatic events, EMDR may be offered to you as a way to help you manage your symptoms, such as PTSD flashbacks or intrusive thoughts. It is usually a short-term therapy, lasting 6-12 sessions, depending on the number of traumatic events and their intensity. During EMDR, you and your therapist will agree on key traumatic memories to work on. The therapist will then focus on those memories until the intense emotions associated with them have decreased. EMDR can be used as a standalone therapy or in conjunction with another therapeutic approach, such as schema therapy. Ultimately, it is up to both you and your therapist to decide which approach is best suited to your needs.

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