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EMDR Treatment – Barbara’s experience

EMDR Treatment – Barbara’s experience (not real name)

After many years of trying to cope with what had happened to me, an event that I had to attend bought it to a head and the thought of having to attend made all the nightmares and fears return so much so that as I was stood in the high street crying I realised I could not control the pain any longer, that’s when I phoned Geoff.

From the first moment I set foot inside his room I felt a sense of relief, at last I could work with someone who was going to help me. Significant symptoms of PTSD were indicated because of the things that had happened to me. It wasn’t easy and I cried a lot, was emotionally exhausted but Geoff never let me leave that room without reassurance and guidance on how we would progress. We even managed to laugh on some occasions.

I had remained strong for my family but now I had to deal with all my demons. As my counselling progressed the nightmares became less and now they have gone. I became stronger and understood that I could live without fear. Geoff was patient and caring but strong and we worked at my pace which I was grateful for. Geoff taught me to have a safe place that I can think of if things get a little heavy and I use this less and less as I grow stronger.

I can’t thank Geoff enough for helping me become a stronger person who no longer lives in fear or shame of what has happened in the past. I attended the event held my head high and was not afraid, I did not bow my head when the person who made me afraid entered the room, I stood tall and felt strong. I want to thank Geoff for helping me understand IT WASN’T MY FAULT and I have nothing to be ashamed of.

Geoff has a gentle, honest approach and reassures you that together we can find a way through the dark and the sun will shine again. So Geoff thank you so much for all your help patience and understanding. My key ring is never far away.

Coaching support through the threat of redundancy

Coaching support through the threat of redundancy – Patrick’s experience (not real name)

I was put in touch with Geoff via my employer for independent advice during a restructure when my role was put at risk of redundancy.

I found myself at a crossroads of unsettling options and possibilities for my future, not all within my control, and unsure of what some of my actions and decisions should be to steer the best course –predominantly for my continued career and finances but also for all the wider impacts it could have in the next stage in my life and happiness.

Some of my colleagues, friends and family were quick to give their advice and suggestions about what they would do but it didn’t all help and much of it conflicted.

In contrast, talking and working the possible scenarios through with Geoff sorted everything clearly for me. His approach focussed on me and my thoughts about the options – and specifically what I wanted to ideally happen based on an insightful understanding of my personal situation, priorities, values and preferences. With this now clear, we then focussed on maximising the possibilities to achieve my preference with priorities for action but also, and very importantly, a calm and controlled mindset in the fresh light of now knowing exactly what I wanted. 

Geoff was able to illuminate my situation with his insights on why we feel and respond to threatening situations in the ways we do and how people’s differing values and situations affect their individual outlook, all of which really helped me understand my reactions and responses to events and so be more thoughtful and self-aware in the choices and path I was taking.  I became clear of exactly what the different options were and how I felt about them. I was aware of what influence I could and could not have over my preferred choices, and this helped guide my interactions with others and know how to manage my own feelings. 

Geoff’s approach to our meetings was casually informal and always put me at ease so that we could easily focus on my situation. Over our short series of meetings, we developed a very trusting ability to hold conversations that genuinely made a difference to how I approached things with positive thinking and action.  In due course, by no coincidence, my preferred choice came good.

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.

Why is your closest relationship like a car?

With winter fast approaching many of us will be checking out how well prepared our cars are for the expected bad weather, tyres may be checked as well as antifreeze etc. Indeed, we get our cars checked annually for maintenance and MOT purposes to ensure reliability and road-worthiness. Strange then, that we often tend to assume that our relationships with loved ones will endure without paying proper attention to the wear and tear that modern day stresses and demands have.

Geoff Britton is a Gillingham based counsellor with a specialisation in couples and relationship counselling. His experience is that, all too often, individuals don’t pay enough attention to the seemingly small problems that can gradually appear in their close relationships until, like a car, they break down.

A client recently said of his situation and work with Geoff, My wife and I visited Geoff as a last resort, and now wished we hadn’t left it so long. We soon realised we had nothing to feel nervous about and came away from the first session feeling like a massive weight had been lifted from our shoulders……….best investment we ever made!”

Geoff can be contacted on 07738851068 or via www.elementscoachingandcounselling.co.uk