Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)

What is eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy?

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) is an effective treatment used to treat trauma memories, post traumatic stress and flashbacks.

What is EMDR good for?

EMDR is often recommended alongside other talking therapies. It’s for people who’ve experienced a traumatic event such as a bereavement, physical assault or car accident and who are now struggling to cope. When reminded of the original event, sufferers experience a range of symptoms including nightmares and panic attacks.


How does EMDR work?

You may require just one short session of EMDR or a series of sessions, depending on the severity of the trauma.

During EMDR your Thinkaction mental health practitioner will talk to you about the disturbing memories or flashbacks you’re experiencing. You’ll be encouraged to share how you feel physically and emotionally when you experience a distressing memory.

Your practitioner will ask you to follow the movement of their finger or a light with your eyes. You’ll be asked to move your eyes to and fro for around 30 seconds. This produces electrical activity in your brain which can help change how your brain stores traumatic memories.


Sharing your emotions and bodily sensations

During the eye movement your practitioner does not talk or offer suggestions. You will be asked to just notice the experience, to observe the memory, along with any emotions, bodily sensations and thoughts.

Following the session, the memory may become less detailed or vivid. Once the trauma memory no longer triggers feelings of distress, you’ll be asked to try to associate different thoughts with it. The EMDR process is complete when recalling the traumatic event no longer causes the same level of physical or mental distress.


When life gets too much we can help get you through

Call us on 0300 012 0012.
Ask your GP to refer you.
Text TALK to 82085.

Find your local Thinkaction service


Mental health problems