EMDR Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing


“Changing the memories that form the way we see ourselves also changes the way we view others. Therefore, our relationships, job performance, what we are willing to do or are able to resist, all move in a positive direction.”
― Francine Shapiro

What is EMDR?

When a person experiences a trauma, it can become locked within its own memory network, and the sensory experience connected to the trauma can become frozen at that point in time in both the body and mind. There is thus difficulty in processing the trauma, and this leads to a variety of symptoms such as PTSD. This is where EMDR comes in.

EMDR aims, through a protocol of prescribed sequenced steps, to activate a client’s information processing system, and then stimulate the system through bilateral stimuli such as alternating eye movements. This is designed to stimulate accelerated information processing, and access channels of association. In doing so the trauma can be processed so as to clear out past disturbance through to an adaptive resolution, improving both present and future functioning.

EMDR was founded and developed during the 1980’s by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D, an American psychologist and educator. Dr Shapiro first published research to support the benefits of EMDR in 1989. To date she has written and co-authored more than 60 articles, chapters, and books about EMDR.

EMDR Recognition

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends EMDR for trauma-focused therapy, which is unsurprising considering the research confirming its efficacy.

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an empirically validated treatment for trauma and negative life experiences. As of 2014, twenty-four randomised controlled trials support the positive effects of EMDR therapy in the treatment of emotional trauma and other adverse life experiences.

Seven of ten studies report EMDR therapy to be more rapid and/or more effective than trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy. Twelve randomised studies of the eye movement component noted rapid decreases in negative emotions and/or vividness of disturbing images, with an additional 8 reporting a variety of other memory effects.

Numerous other evaluations document that EMDR therapy provides relief from a variety of somatic complaints, and an efficient approach to address psychological and physiologic symptoms stemming from adverse life experiences (Shapiro, 2014).

Sandra Tapping

Your EMDR Practitioner

Dr Sandra Westland is a highly experienced practitioner in working with trauma using the latest psychological approaches, including EMDR. Sandra has experienced and recovered from PTSD herself, and has many years of experience working with paramedics, ambulance technicians and crisis teams. She has found first hand, in her research on women and problematic weight, that trauma has a bearing on weight, food and body issues.

EMDR Bookings

To book your EMDR treatment in Colchester click here.


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