What is EMDR therapy?
EMDR (which stands for eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) is a form of psychotherapy used to help healing and recovery from the emotional distress caused by traumatic life experiences. Similar to the way in which a physical wound mends over time, EMDR therapy enables the mind to heal from psychological trauma. In essence, a clinician trained in EMDR will help their patients to activate the mind’s natural healing process.
Whilst commonly used as a therapeutic intervention for mental health conditions such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), EMDR is now being used for a far wider variety of situations, such as pain management and phobias (Sukanya B. Menon and C. Jayan: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: A Conceptual Framework).
This form of therapy takes patients through eight-phases:
Phase 1: History and treatment planning
- Talking about the trauma and identifying specific memories to treat
Phase 2: Preparation
- Learning different coping mechanisms for psychological stress
Phase 3: Assessment
- Targeting the specific memories and any linked elements such as physical sensations which are triggered
Phases 4-7: Treatment
- Using EMDR techniques involves focusing on negative or traumatic experiences while a therapist asks the patient to carry out specific eye movements. Eye movements, or other bilateral stimulation, mimics Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep – this is the deepest stage of sleep and it is in this stage that cognitive processing occurs
- If at any point, the exercises become too distressing, the therapist will guide their patient back to the present. Over time, distress will likely fade
Phase 8: Evaluation
- This final phase is where both the patient and therapist evaluate the progress made throughout the treatment sessions
Does Xyla Digital Therapies offer EMDR?
At Xyla Digital Therapies, we offer flexible online EMDR treatment which you can access from the comfort of your own home. Our sessions are available 7 days a week, booked in at a time that suits you; we offer sessions between 7am – 11pm. To access EMDR with us, you need to be referred from your local IAPT service. You can find your local service by clicking here.
Please note, neither this form of therapy nor our service is designed for emergencies. If you need urgent help or you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can access emergency support here.