EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. EMDR is a NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) approved therapeutic technique for trauma and PTSD. Many clients with impairments have experienced trauma, this can be through many ways:
- Invasive surgery or hospitalisation
- Chronic pain can be traumatic
- The time of accident or injury
- During a diagnosis of illness, disease or condition
- Those born with impairments are at a higher risk of trauma, such as childhood neglect, sexual or physical abuse or poor attachment with parents
- Trauma due to disability hate crime
- Ongoing small traumas, such as being excluded from places, situations and friendships, as well as difficult contact with members of the public. Over time this can build up to a more severe traumatic level.
EMDR is based on a theory that distressing and traumatic events are stored separately from our memories and this is what causes things like flashbacks and an inability to move on from the impact of the trauma. EMDR enables the left and right brain to work together to heal trauma. Clients often report that distressing memories are less distressing, that flashbacks are no longer triggered, and negative patterns of behaviours are broken. Memories are more complete and now belong in the past.
EMDR is especially helpful for those with communication difficulties or those clients who do not want to talk about their traumas in much depth, such as in standard talking therapy.
Please read this blog for further information on how disability and trauma are connected.