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Melbourne Integrative Psychotherapy & Counselling

Eye Movement Desensitising 


Melbourne Integrative Psychotherapy & Counselling

Eye Movement Desensitising 

                For the eye altering alters all.  

The Mental Traveller, William Blake,1757-1827

Eye Movement Desensitising Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence based

treatment model drawn from physiological-psychological principles and

encompasses a person centred approach to psychotherapy for complex trauma

and PTSD. Francine Shapiro, developed EMDR and the adaptive information processing model which considers psychopathology as a disorder of memory

that holds unprocessed traumatic experiences and memories that arises in

disturbance of cognition, emotions (feelings) and behaviours. 

EMDR applies the left-right eye movements to stimulate the opposite

hemispheres of the brain back and forth. The use of bilateral stimulation is  

thought to assist with integration of the right-left brain hemispheres. The left side

of the brain controls the right side of the body whereas the right side of the brain

controls the left side of the body. The left domain of the brain manages language, cognition, and problem solving, whereas the right domain of the brain is intuitive, emotional and involved with body functions.


The brain is also understood as triune (three part brain), the cortical (thinking)

part of the brain is at the front, limbic (emotional) part is located in the middle

and the brainstem also known as reptilian brain is at the back of the head.  

Our brains are the most complex organ in the human body with enormous 

capacity to heal, as evidenced by the current research into neuroplasticity.

The healing processes involves the limbic region that guides emotions

and behaviours for self preservation and survival of the species, it is also

involved in the storage and retrieval of memory. The amygdala (alarm signals)

critically evaluates the emotional meaning connected to incoming stimuli which

then communicates to the hippocampus where (learning, memories) are stored 

and to the prefrontal cortex which then (analyses and controls emotions and behaviours).

When an individual feels under threat the innate instinctive primal need to survive

shows up in the fight, flight or freeze responses found in the brain stem, also

known as part of the reptilian brain, as old as the (dinosaur) age. Distressing events, images, intrusive or ruminating negative thoughts or emotions when they remain unprocessed it creates overwhelming feelings of distress as if being

back in that moment or of being 'frozen in time'. EMDR therapy processes these

memories using bilateral stimulation to reduce the emotional charge that is

attached to those memories to a state whereby they are no longer distressing

for the individual. 

Sharon trained in EMDR with Assisted Psychology Services. 

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