Eye Movement Desensitisation + Reprogramming


It is now generally accepted that both traumatic and non-traumatic adverse life experiences and their unsuccessful resolution contribute to the development of many psychological disorders.

Within the Adaptive Information Processing model (the theoretical model underlying Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy, more often known as EMDR), psychological distress is viewed primarily as a disorder of memory, with an emphasis on difficult life experiences and the way they are encoded into our memories. EMDR demonstrates that memories of traumatic events can be identified and processed to a point where the memories are no longer intrusive.

EMDR is an integrative approach to psychotherapy, based on a range of physiological and psychological principles incorporating eye movements and other forms of bilateral physical stimulation. Bilateral physical stimulation, occurring naturally during the REM phase of sleep, appears to facilitate the rapid reprocessing of information.

The aim of EMDR is to replace the continual re-experiencing of traumatic events with a ‘learning experience’ that becomes a source of resilience. Stripped of their emotion, traumatic memories are able to be better contextualised and are consolidated into our general world knowledge.

Research has demonstrated the efficacy of EMDR and the positive effects of eye movements in providing symptom relief and treatment of trauma, and it has been included as a recommended treatment within several international trauma treatment guidelines. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends only trauma-focused CBT and EMDR in the treatment of PTSD. In comparing EMDR to trauma focused CBT, WHO reported: “Like CBT with a trauma focus, EMDR aims to reduce subjective distress and strengthen adaptive beliefs related to the traumatic event. Unlike CBT with a trauma focus, EMDR does not involve (a) detailed descriptions of the event, (b) direct challenging of beliefs, (c) extended exposure, or (d) homework.”

As there is less exposure to traumatic memories and therefore less risk of re-experiencing the trauma in EMDR compared to trauma-focussed CBT, and since no homework is required of the client with all the therapeutic work being done within the safety of the therapist’s room, EMDR is considered an inherently safe therapeutic process.

Rose has completed both Level 1 and Level 2 training in using EMDR for a variety of mental health and wellbeing issues. To make an appointment call 9876 1800 or email reception@bridgestreetpsych.com.au