EMDR Therapy in Liverpool and the North West

Eye Movement Desensitisation and reprocessing, or EMDR for short, is a specialist type of psychotherapy which has been shown in clinical trials to be an effective treatment for Post-traumatic Stress disorder and other trauma related problems.

It is one of only two types of psychotherapy (along with Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to be recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence as a treatment for PTSD.


What is EMDR?

EMDR Therapy in Liverpool: EMDR is a type of trauma focused psychotherapy which aims to alleviate emotional distress through activating the brain’s natural capacity to heal itself.

It is based upon a concept called “Adaptive information processing” or AIP for short.

Our body always aims to arrive at a state of balance, or homeostasis. For instance, if we have been exercising and we get out of breath, then eventually our body will take steps to correct this back to the normal balanced state. Likewise, if our balance is upset through us becoming unwell, then the body will seek to restore balance by releasing antibodies to kill the infection. Our body is working hard to maintain balance all of the time.

This is what our brain does too. Adaptive information processing means that our brain seeks to process new information in a way that it can be accommodated, with minimal distress, into our already existing beliefs, ideas and self concept. This is how our memories are created.

We experience something new. The brain processes it in relation to existing memories. Balance is restored.

This is even happening to you now. All day. Everyday. Even while you sleep.

That is, until we experience an event which is significant enough to require a lot more resource to achieve balance.

A traumatic event is like this. We experience an event which is so out of the ordinary that it carries with it aspects of intense emotion, graphic visual imagery, vivid, pained sounds and overwhelming sensations. To process such a traumatic event requires the brain to spend more resources on processing the memory, to achieve balance.

However, because the memory of the event is so emotionally intense, trauma sufferers will often try not to think of the event, they will avoid reminders of it and experience nightmares which means that it is difficult to process the event in their sleep. The Adaptive Information Process is disrupted, meaning that the brain cannot return to the balanced state.



EMDR is a type of trauma focused psychotherapy which aims to alleviate emotional distress through activating the brain’s natural capacity to heal itself.


How Does EMDR Work?

EMDR aims to help the brain achieve balance again. One of the distinctive ways in which it does this is through “Bilateral Stimulation”.

Bilateral stimulation refers to a set of techniques that the therapist will use to stimulate the left and right sides of the brain and will be applied whilst you focus upon aspects of the memory of the traumatic event.

Bilateral stimulation can be done in the following ways:

Eye movements – The therapist will ask you to follow a stimulus with your eyes. This stimulus could be their hands, a light or stick.
Sounds – Using clicks or tones alternately at either ear.
Sensations – The therapist may tap the backs of your hands or ask you to hold a pair of buzzers to stimulate sensations alternately.
There are a few theories as to why bilateral stimulation is a beneficial aspect of trauma processing.
One of which suggests that EMDR stimulates the processes that occur whilst we are asleep. REM sleep is the stage of sleeping in which we dream. Dreaming is believed to be the process in which our minds make sense of the experiences of the day and process them into long term memory stores. When we experience a traumatic event, because of the additional emotional content of a trauma, rather than just having dreams, we have nightmares. These wake us up and as such, the brain is unable to do its job during sleeptime hours.

REM stands for “Rapid Eye Movement”. If you have ever watched someone while they sleep during the REM stage, you will have seen that their eyes are moving rapidly from side to side – Just like what we do within EMDR. EMDR helps us to process trauma by simulating “REM sleep in the daytime” using Bilateral stimulation.

For more information and help with EMDR therapy in Liverpool, please get in touch.


| Website designed & hosted by Cyberfrog Design | Privacy and Cookie Policy