Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (more commonly known as EMDR), is a form of psychotherapy developed in the 1980s by American psychologist Francine Shapiro.
The therapy is used to treat a wide range of psychological difficulties that typically originate in trauma, such as direct or indirect experiences of violence, accidents or natural disaster. EMDR therapy is also used to treat more prolonged, low-grade distress that originates in shock or loss in adult life and/or issues experienced during childhood. The experiences outlined above often lead to a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis, for which EMDR has been recommended by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Increasingly, EMDR therapy is also being used for the treatment of other issues including:
- Performance Anxiety
- Phobias and Fears
- Low Self-Esteem.
Reported benefits of EMDR include:
- A reduction in re-experiencing trauma memories.
- Feeling more able to cope with and manage trauma memories without needing to avoid potential triggers.
- Feeling more able to engage in and enjoy pleasurable activities and relationships.
- Reduced feelings of stress, anxiety, irritation and hypervigilance – allowing you to rest well, address pressure and/or conflict and go about your daily business without feeling fearful and prone to panic.
- Reduced feelings of isolation, hopelessness and depression.
- A boost in self-confidence and self-esteem.
How does EMDR work?
When traumatic events occur, the body’s natural cognitive and neurological coping mechanisms can be overwhelmed and subsequently the memory is inadequately processed and stored in an isolated network.
The goal of EMDR therapy is to properly process these traumatic memories, reducing their impact and helping clients to develop coping mechanisms. This is done through an eight-phase approach to address the past, present, and future aspects of a stored memory, requiring clients to recall distressing events while receiving bilateral sensory input, including:
- Side to side eye movements
- Hand tapping
- Auditory tones.
How will I feel after my session?
The nature of EMDR means that after your session the treatment will continue to be active in your awareness. This means that you may find yourself thinking about the thoughts you focused on during your session and you may feel the same emotions you experienced during your session. To help you through this process, allow yourself time and space to relax after an EMDR session. While everyone is different, over time these feelings will generally become less intense and many people say they feel a strong sense of relief after their sessions.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) incorporates theories from holistic therapies such as acupressure, energy medicine and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).
Many eastern medicine models are founded on the belief that there are channels of energy within the body. It is thought that when these channels (known as meridians) become blocked, energy becomes unbalanced. When this happens, it is thought to lead to physical and emotional symptoms.
In the western world, we are beginning to catch up with the premise that emotional health is imperative to physical health. As well as affecting our health, emotional blocks can lead to limiting beliefs and behaviours. This may result in phobias, anxiety, depression or even addictions.
EFT acknowledges this and combines energy medicine with psychological interventions for a truly holistic approach to health.
In a similar way to acupuncture, EFT looks to release blocked energy by stimulating the meridian points. Rather than using needles however, this therapy uses tapping techniques.
Tapping (using the fingertips) on certain points on the body, combined with voicing positive affirmations is thought to neutralise the emotional block in energy.
How does EFT work?
We believe that negative emotions and illness are interlinked. Physical problems create emotional responses and emotional problems often manifest physical symptoms. For this reason, it is important to approach healing in a holistic manner, looking at both emotional and physical energy.
Emotional Freedom Technique aims to tackle both the negative emotions and unbalanced or blocked energy. This is done by tapping meridian points on the body while focusing on the issue and repeating positive affirmations.
This combination of stimulating meridian points whilst thinking about root causes enables the energy system to ‘straighten out’. This is believed to eradicate the ‘short circuit’ to the body’s learnt response or negative emotion.
The basic technique involves repeating a positive affirmation then focusing on the concern (for example anxiety) while tapping on each meridian point.
What can it help with?
A well-known motto within the EFT community is “try it on everything”. Because the therapy is non-invasive, entirely natural and safe, there is nothing to lose by trying it on any issue. Advocates of the therapy say it can offer long-lasting relief and often works where other approaches fail.
EFT works well for recurring problems as they aim to tackle the root cause, rather than simply treating symptoms.
Below is a list of issues people commonly turn to EFT for:
- Fears and Phobias
- Pain Management
- Panic Attacks
- Anger Management
- Weight Loss