What is EMDR?

When we experience traumatic events, the thoughts, feelings and memories can often be so overwhelming that we are unable to separate from them and become stuck. Our ability to move on from them may seem impossible at the time and can leave us feeling in a state of distress and hopelessness. However, the mind can often heal itself naturally, in the same way as the body does and much of this natural coping mechanism occurs during sleep, particularly during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

Francine Shapiro developed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), over 20 years ago, applying this natural process of coping to successfully treat Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). EMDR works by helping the brain to process distressing memories, reduce their influences and allow individuals to develop ways to effectively get on with their lives.


Who it’s for?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is suitable for both children and adults. It is for individuals who want to deal with distressing / intrusive memories.


Issues we can help with

EMDR therapy can help with several trauma related difficulties. Here at SurvivorsUK we will be offering EMDR therapy to support boys (13+-18) and men who have been raped and sexually abused.



Assessment starts with a full evaluation of your psychological well-being and we talk about the most appropriate treatment for you.


Therapy sessions

During EMDR therapy you will remain in control, fully alert and wide-awake. EMDR is not a form of hypnosis. EMDR is an individual therapy model and therefore you will be seen 1-1 (you and your therapist). 

During therapy sessions you are supported to recall a traumatic event(s) and at the same time receive bilateral stimulation. This means receiving stimuli in a rhythmic left-right pattern via eye movements.


Risks and side effects

As with all talking therapies with a focus on trauma / traumatic events talking about these can be difficult. Therefore, some people do experience feelings worse before they feel better. Your therapist will continue to work with you to manage strong emotional reactions to the therapy.



The use of EMDR has been recommended by the Department of Health’s National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the guidelines they issued on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in 2005.

Studies have found that EMDR can help people more quickly than other therapies.


Start Date

EMDR therapy will be on offer from January 2020. Sessions will be delivered from accredited counsellors and psychotherapists who will also be training as EMDR therapist.

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