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EMDR – A client’s reflections on her treatment.

Illustrative of the transformational power of the Eye Movement Desensitising and Reprocessing treatment (EMDR) is the undermentioned blogged reflections written by one of my recent clients.

“It took a long, and anxiety ridden six months before I finally admitted I needed some help following my son’s successful treatment of cancer. The relief was immediate when I admitted to my husband, my family and also my very understanding employers that I wasn’t doing so well. I was merely surviving, nowhere near close to thriving.

 The reoccurring nightmares should have been a giveaway, or the vivid and intense flashbacks from the day my son was diagnosed. It took my counsellor only 30 minutes to suggest and qualify that I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

 It made sense, from the moment I was told that my son had cancer, survival mode took over. I remember the consultant encouraging us to sit in the family room and have a cup of tea, in encouragement to digest the information that had just been shared. But it felt no time for such a luxury, the kettle didn’t even boil before I was already ushering us to his next set of X-rays, I’m not sure I even cried, there felt no time, it wouldn’t have helped. All I could focus on was getting us first over the finish line, cancer would not be winning this time.

 My coping mechanism throughout the treatment, the operations, the scans, the emergency dashes to hospital, had been one of autopilot. All energy and focus was on making sure that my son was ok, and rightly so, he was our brave and beautiful soldier. On the rare moments when I allowed the emotions to take over it would tend to show itself as frustration, I think my husband may say anger…He is still slightly traumatised by my reaction to him making a wrong move on the drive to hospital!

 Or perhaps the realisation point should have been following the days we received the amazing news that my son had successfully completed his treatment, the celebrations however felt so short lived. How could I ever truly let myself believe that it was all going to be ok? The brave me, the positive me, was fading fast.

 And here I am today, truly believing that my son is going to be just fine, in fact more than just fine. I can now think much more logically and not allow the overwhelming anxiety to take over. It has all been as a result of a technique called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) a process which requires you to relive the traumatic event whilst moving your eyes from left to right. During this procedure my memories lost their intensity, they became less vibrant. I would walk away after each session feeling lighter (in-fact not to dissimilar to the feeling following a glass of wine, bonus).

 The science behind EMDR is quite simple, the therapy focuses directly on your memory, and is intended to change the way that the memory is stored in the brain, reducing and eliminating the problematic symptoms associated to that event.

 As the therapy continues I become less connected to the upsetting moments of the past and so much more focused and aware of the now.

 Though even more importantly, I am now allowing myself to enjoy the now, and the future.

So if your days are feeling darker then they need to be never hesitate to ask for help. We will all be there to hold you up.”

 

 

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing)

Based in Gillingham, Dorset, Geoff Britton now offers clients in Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire this specialist therapeutic treatment  which is effective in relieving and removing the damaging long term impact of trauma, be this physical, emotional or developmental.

EMDR is a powerful treatment developed in the 1980’s by Dr. Francine Shapiro, an American clinical psychologist. The evidence base of this treatment method is such that it is recommended by both the World Health Organisation (W.H.O) and National Institute for Clinical Excellence (N.I.C.E) as an effective treatment method for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) so it is commonly used to treat the psychological suffering experienced by military personnel, returning from traumatic combat experiences, other emergency services personnel and survivors of numerous catastrophic and potentially life threatening events that anyone of us might experience.

EMDR is a proven method by which eye movements or other means are used to replicate the way the brain processes and makes sense of experiences, whilst we are asleep. By way of simple explanation the brain may have inappropriately stored traumatic experiences within its emotional rather than its logical processing capabilities so the sufferer continually relives past events as if there were happening now. Geoff often illustrates this point by asking clients how many red cars have they seen whilst driving to see him; no-one is ever able to give an answer but they would certainly remember they’d had to make an emergency stop, had a child run out into the road in front of their car. The point illustrated is that that brain takes some time to process its response to threatening situations and sometimes the sense of threat gets stuck and might never subside for some.

Whilst individuals may become traumatised by a catastrophic event, beyond the mind’s ability to cope with and process it, emotions that arise from lesser recognised traumatic or upsetting experiences can become similarly locked in the brain and lead to significant emotional and psychological difficulties, coupled with experiencing a generally unhappy outlook on life. Such experiences might include events such as childhood or adult emotional or physical abuse, where this often leads to low self-esteem and lack of confidence, which can be life inhibiting conditions. Indeed, it is often the case that any chronic, unhelpful or inappropriate experiences we have as impressionable youngsters can negatively influence how we see and interpret ‘our world’ as adults. EMDR has the capacity to address such issues, including addictive conditions that are often rooted in negative early life experiences.

Geoff is an experienced counsellor and Registered Accredited Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) with 10 years post-qualification experience of working in private practice and the NHS.

For a free of charge initial consultation and obligation free discussion about how he may be able to help you live  a full and happy life, please contact Geoff via email at info@elementscoachingandcounselling.co.uk or by phone on 07738851068.