Clare Spence

Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist

What is EMDR?

Francine Shapiro developed EMDR in 1987 and it was originally used to treat Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Since then it has been found that EMDR is also successful in the treatment of other problems such as anxiety, depression, phobias, addiction and pain relief.

How  does it work?

When a person experiences a trauma or disturbing life event, the bodies natural ability to cope with that event can sometimes become “stuck” leaving the event in an “unprocessed” state.  These unprocessed memories are stored in the limbic system of the brain in a “raw” state resulting in the traumatic memory being maintained.

EMDR utilises the natural healing ability of the body by recreating the eye movements similar to those during REM sleep.  Research has shown that by recreating this movement the memory is then “processed” and can then be stored as a past memory, thus removing the level of distress.  EMDR is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as an effective treatment for PTSD.

EMDR is not a form of hypnosis and you remain alert and in full control through out treatment.  Further information can be found at or