EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) is a type of psychotherapy that is primarily used to relieve psychological stress due to disturbing life experiences. Several case studies have been conducted that showed that EMDR can make a difference in the mental health of an individual way faster than other psychotherapies. It is assumed that the emotional pains caused by emotional distress can take a longer time to heal. But, EMDR therapy has shown otherwise. It showed that mental pain can be treated as fast as any physical injury is cured.

EMDR therapy is growing tremendously because of its nontraditional ways and effectiveness. It is best used for treating post-traumatic stress disorder. It approaches the psychological issues in some new ways and it doesn’t solely rely on medications or talk therapy. In EMDR, clients' own rapid, rhythmic eye movements are used.

How to find an EMDR Therapist

If you are looking to find the perfect EMDR Therapist it is crucial to make sure that they have the appropriate qualifications, knowledge and experience. At Expat Therapy 4U we only accept therapists who have full professional proficiency in English and are highly experienced in working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds. The clinicians we approve share our values and commitment to provide high quality therapy to the expatriate community in the private sector across Europe and online worldwide. We strongly believe that therapy changes lives, and being accredited ensures all our therapists are qualified to a high standard. You can find an EMDR Therapist who is insured to practice and accredited with a recognised membership body online here.

What to expect from EMDR?

A single session of EMDR can last for about 90 minutes. Mainly your eye movements will be used in the therapy and you will recall the past experiences along the way. The therapist will move his or her fingers back and forth in front of your eyes and you will be asked to follow those movements with the eyes. At the same time, you will be asked to remember the distressing events that are causing your mental pain.

Gradually, in the same session, the therapist will guide you to replace those distressing thoughts with the positive ones. Some therapists might use alternative methods such as musical tones, tapping fingers, or hands.

People who experience EMDR therapy claim that they can feel the effect of negative thoughts fading away with every session. Also, the therapist will also ask you to rate the level of distress you feel after every session. The hope is that the disturbing thoughts and memories will become less irritating and painful with the passage of time.

Although PTSD is the most common issue being treated with EMDR, there are other psychological issues that can be addressed with the help of EMDR. These issues include:

  • Addictions
  • Panic Disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Eating Disorders
  • Depression

How does EMDR therapy work?

EMDR therapy is broken down into eight different phases, and to have a complete treatment, the client has to attend multiple sessions. The whole treatment can take up to 12 sessions. Here are all the 12 sessions explained in detail:

Phase 1: History and treatment planning

To assess your situation, the therapist will first review your history and decide where you can lie in the treatment process. In this phase, there will be an in-depth conversation about the trauma that you are facing and what potential traumatic memories are causing the distress. The client will be questioned from general to specific to figure out what the treatment plan could be.

Phase 2: Preparation

Now, this is the phase where the therapist gives an explanation about the treatment being chosen for you. The client will be introduced to the treatment plan, the eye movement practise and other components as well. The therapist makes sure that the client has adequate information about the plan so that it can be followed with care. Also, several techniques such as stress management techniques, mindfulness, and deep breathing are introduced to the client.

Phase 3: Assessment

In this third phase, the therapist will try to activate the part of the memory that is causing the issue. Those disturbing memories will be the focus of the session. There will be an identification and assessment of all the components of the memory such as cognition, image, affect, and body sensation.

Two tools are used at this phase for identifying the depth of the memory that is targeted. These measures are subjective units of disturbance (SUD) and the validity of cognition (VOC). There are standardised procedures for these tools to be used and only a trained therapist can use them.

Phase 4: Desensitisation

The eye movement technique is used in this phase where the client is asked to focus on the memory along with maintaining eye movement. The client can report anything in this phase; what distressing thoughts are coming and what new thoughts are emerging. Each set of BLS is used to determine the focus according to the standardised procedures. The process continues until there are no distressing thoughts by the client.

Phase 5: Installation

This phase includes installation where the positive thoughts are installed and negative are taken out to enhance positive cognition.

Phase 6: Body Scan

At this stage, the client is asked to think about the physical responses he or she might be having whenever those disturbing thoughts and emotions have emerged. It is used to identify any residual somatic distress and to make the client realise how positive cognition can improve their overall health. At this stage, if the clients show any distress, the standardised BLS procedures are used to process it.

Phase 7: Closure

This is the end of the session where it is observed that whether the distressing thoughts are gone or not. If not, then some specific instructions and techniques are advised to the client to ensure their safety until the next session.

Phase 8: Re-evaluation

This is done at the start of the next session where the therapist observes the emotional and psychological state of the client at the moment. It is the time when the client sees if the treatment is maintained, what memories are still gone, and what is emerged since the last session.

How Effective is EMDR?

Many studies have shown that EMDR is an effective therapy. A 2012 study conducted on 22 people found out that EMDR helped 77 percent of people with PTSD and other psychotic disorders. It was seen that their symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, and depression were drastically improved after the treatment.

Find an EMDR Therapist through the Expat Therapy 4U platform

EMDR appears to be a safe therapy and has no negative effects at all. Despite its fast treatment and effectiveness, critics have been wondering about its use. Most of them say that the studies conducted on EMDR included only a few numbers of people. But there are researchers who have done several studies that have proven the effectiveness of EMDR therapy.

Further Readings on EMDR Therapy





About Expat Therapy 4U

Expat Therapy 4U is the result of 5 years’ experience running The International Psychology Clinic, the first private therapy service based in London specialized in multilingual and multicultural therapy.

The platform is run by Dr Martina Paglia. Dr Martina is a leading dual qualified Clinical and Counselling psychologist who helps patients by providing bespoke psychological services including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling and Psychotherapy in London and online worldwide.

Our network comprises highly qualified and experienced private therapists who have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of expats worldwide. All members of our community are highly experienced working in cross-cultural environments.

We are passionate about delivering first-class patient-centred, safe and effective care. If you would like to work with a warm, inclusive, caring and professional English-speaking therapist in Europe or online worldwide you have come to the right place.

If you are looking for the perfect expat Therapist in Europe or online worldwide, our team is dedicated to help you find your best match. We offer a client guarantee where clients can re-book with a different therapist if they are not satisfied with their first therapy session.

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