While talking therapy can be powerful, in many cases it can only get you so far. This is where EMDR therapy can come in. As used by Prince Harry, EMDR originated as a treatment for the symptoms of PTSD, but it can also be helpful for depression and panic disorder. With the help of psychotherapist, EMDR therapist, & co-founder of Kove, Jordan Vyas-Lee, we’re taking you through the benefits of EMDR.

The What

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing) is a brilliant new therapy method that can relieve distress linked to traumatic memories. Historically it has been used with great success in the treatment of PTSD. However, new research is allowing EMDR to become a very successful and flexible method for working on the deep emotional rootings of problems. 

Underlying causes that are not well accessed by standard talking therapies— including depression, low self-esteem, relationship difficulties and anxiety problems. EMDR therapy can help relieve the fear, shame, loss of control, and other emotions that result from trauma. Your traumatic memories become integrated with a positive sense of self, so they no longer cause you distress. 

The Core Of EDMR

EMDR activates the nervous system at a deep emotional level. By the second session it is likely that you will begin using the EMDR process, using bilateral stimulation to rewire relevant memories. Bilateral stimulation is a visual, auditory or tactile stimulus that crosses the body in a rhythmic left to right pattern. Research has shown that it helps the nervous system to effectively process locked information. 

Rhythmic activity such as tapping or eye movements has a calming effect, facilitating space to process painful memories and unwanted thoughts in the absence of an overwhelming psychological response. 

What To Expect From Your First Session

In a first EMDR session you can expect to discuss the nature of your problems with the therapist much in the same way as in other talking therapies. The therapist will help you to piece together how any current problems are linked to old events, moments, or relationships. 

You will also discuss how you want life to be different, any new skills you wish to acquire, and any ways in which you wish to grow. The therapist is likely describe some of the theory that sits behind EMDR before making a start on processing. 

When Do You See The Benefits?

You should notice some changes after your first few EMDR processing sessions. Some patients only take one session to feel totally different about a particularly troubling individual memory. Typically we would look at 4 sessions as a very short course of treatment. Between 8-12 sessions is somewhat standard for an acute problem. For long-standing problems sessions spread less frequently over long periods of time (up to a year) can bring huge rewards. For issues that relate to events set down in early life, and which have been an emotional difficulty for many years, more gradual – but significant – changes accumulate over time.

For more information on EDMR or to speak to a therapist, visit Kove

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