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EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing

Article by Perth Psychologist, Linda Johnson

EMDR is a psychotherapy treatment developed in 1987 by American Psychologist Dr Francine Shapiro that can be used to treat symptoms of trauma, PTSD and other disturbing life experiences in both adults and children. EMDR is recognised by the US Department of Defence and the American Psychiatric Association as an effective treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. Shapiro explains that research at Harvard University has found that EMDR therapy seems to link into the same processes that occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This is the time that dreams take place and the brain processes information. It is thought that EMDR transfers memory from where it holds the emotions, beliefs and physical reactions that were stored at the time of the original event, into memory networks where the person has processed the experience so that the accurate personal meaning of the event has been extracted and the negative reactions no longer exist.

Traumatic memories come in many types. While some may involve violence and physical abuse, others involve everyday life experiences, such as relationship problems. Negative experiences can sometimes remain in our memory and start to impact on our mental health and daily lives. EMDR helps reprocess the negative memories so that they become more understandable and less disruptive. Insights and cognitive changes can sometimes be quite dramatic and rapid. I currently use cognitive behavioural therapy plus EMDR with adults whose problems include relationship issues, adult survivors of child abuse, phobias (ie driving, needle, heights, flying), panic attacks and survivors of violent assaults including rape. However, the issues don't have to be dramatic. The more subtle and lingering issues also can respond well to EMDR. I have also found the technique extremely effective with teenagers and children with trauma, anxiety, bullying issues, school difficulties, anger and behavioural problems.

If you would like to learn more about EMDR or if you would like to make an appointment, Linda can be contacted by phone or email.

Contact Details
Phone: (08) 9409 5563

Linda Johnson works from Wangara, North Perth and Shenton Park Psychology Services in Perth, Western Australia.

Wangara Psychology
3/7 Prindiville Drive
Wangara WA 6065

North Perth Psychology
6/54 Angove Street
North Perth WA 6006

Shenton Park Psychology
5/316 Onslow Road
Shenton Park WA 6008

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