Treating Trauma with Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Physical Health

Many people will experience a traumatic event at some point in their life. Emotional pain following trauma is normal, but if it isn't properly dealt with, long term suffering and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can result. For some people witnessing traumatic events is part of their job. Emergency services staff, for example, suffer the compounding effect of distress from being involved in regular traumas.

Unresolved Trauma

Whether you have experienced one traumatic event or many, unresolved and prolonged trauma can manifest in the following signs:

  • Mood – anxious, depressed and angry
  • Behaviour – avoiding triggers and poor sleep
  • Mind - suffer flashbacks, confusion and memory loss

Gaining treatment can improve the symptoms and stop someone from developing more complex symptoms and disorders.

Effective Treatment for Trauma

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy treatment method effective in re-storing the memories associated with trauma. EMDR re-stores memories in a part of the brain that means they no longer carry the same level of emotion and can provide relief from symptoms much faster than other therapeutic treatments. Similar to the way the body recovers from physical injury, the brain is encouraged to unblock and restore the disturbing event, meaning the emotional wound can heal and the symptoms disappear.

Studies have shown that 84-90% of patients with PTSD from a single trauma event are cured of the disorder after three sessions of EMDR. Another study showed 77% of people who have witnessed multiple traumatic events resulting in PTSD were cured after six sessions.  EMDR is therefore considered the gold-standard treatment for trauma. 

How EMDR Works

EMDR involves the past, present and future during an eight-phase treatment. In basic terms, a psychologist with their client decide on which memory to target first. Then the client is asked to hold different parts of the memory in their mind while focusing on an external stimulus such as the psychologist’s moving finger. The patient’s eye movement following the finger creates connections between the emotional and useful parts of the brain with new associations made with the traumatic memory. The memories of the trauma become more distant, and the distress reduced.

History of EMDR

EMDR began in the 1980s, and after many psychological studies to prove its effectiveness, it was recognised by the World Health Organisation in 2013. The treatment method has grown in popularity since its introduction and is now an important treatment for people who have suffered one or multiple traumatic events. Millions of people have been treated with EMDR worldwide.

Experts in Treating Trauma

PeopleSense has the highest number of psychologists trained in the EMDR method in Australia. Our experienced psychologists treat patients following personal and work-related traumas. If you would like more information about how EMDR may help you, a family member or your colleagues, contact People Sense on 1300 307 912

People carrying trauma and emotional pain often feel that no-one will understand what they are experiencing. Chances are, regardless of the complexity of the issue, PeopleSense has provided advice and treatment for it before. If you are a manager and are concerned about an employee and would like to speak to a professional, contact the PeopleSense Management Assistance Team on 1300 307 912.
Category: Physical Health