What is EMDR and how does it treat trauma and anxiety?

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is one of only two first line treatments recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). EMDR is also now widely used to treat a range of mental health issues including mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

What is EMDR?

EMDR is an interactive psychotherapy technique that involves bringing your awareness to thoughts, feelings, and sensations associated with traumatic memories while your eyes move rapidly. Using time periods of 30 – 60 seconds, client’s follow a moving point of focus with their eyes. As the eyes move from left to right, a naturally occurring pattern of electrical activity in the brain is produced which bring about changes to stored trauma memories – typically making the memories less intense. 

The regions of the brain involved during EMDR are associated with emotional activation, sensory storage and reasoning. By increasing the activation of these parts of the brain, the patterns in our neural pathways can change.

EMDR has been endorsed by international bodies including the Australian National Centre for Excellence in Post Traumatic Mental Health, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Who can benefit from EMDR therapy?

While the clients who will benefit the most from EMDR therapy experience PTSD or trauma, it can also benefits clients who have:

  • Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Complex PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Panic attacks

Before your EMDR therapy begins you may need to develop new skills to manage and reduce your emotional arousal. It’s important to note that some clients may not be suitable for EMDR therapy. Your Cova therapist will conduct an assessment to determine whether you’re suitable for EMDR therapy.

How long does EMDR therapy take?

Before you undertake EMDR therapy, your therapist will need to know the nature of your issue before deciding if EMDR is an appropriate treatment. The number of treatment sessions you’ll need will depend on the type of PTSD and trauma you’re experiencing and your life circumstances.

EMDR therapy is usually broken down into five different phases that include:

1. History and treatment planning

2. Preparation

3. Assessment

4. Treatment

5. Evaluation

EMDR Therapy at Cova Psychology

Cova has therapists trained in EMDR therapy who are available to see you. Contact us today to explore booking a Psychologist Melbourne. Our Melbourne Psychologists offer a wide range of evidence based therapies including EMDR Therapy Melbourne.

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Dr. Chris Coleiro

Chris is a co-director of Cova Psychology, where he provides supervision to psychologists whilst cultivating a supportive culture within the Cova team. Chris has worked extensively in the assessment and treatment of trauma, PTSD, and Borderline Personality Disorder. He combines a range of therapies in his approach including CBT, Schema Therapy, EMDR and IFS.