Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing

What is Eye Movement and Desensitisation and Reprocessing?

Eye  Movement  Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a distinct treatment approach which uses bilateral stimulation to support the processing of distressing information that can sometimes remain “frozen” in the brain when a person feels very overwhelmed (e.g. trauma). 

EMDR was initially developed in order to successfully treat PTSD and this is where the bulk of its evidence-base presently lies. That said, EMDR is increasingly being used to treat other conditions in which disturbing memories play a part.

EMDR therapy for PTSD

EMDR therapy focuses on past or present disturbing memories, experiences or events. Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during sessions. 


Once a memory or experience is agreed upon, the therapist will ask the client to hold the event or thought in mind and to track the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across their field of vision.  Whilst this happens, EMDR holds that inner associations arise and the client begins to process the memory and distressing feelings. 


In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is changed and integrated on an emotional level.


EMDR is an evidence based approach and its validity and reliability has been established by rigorous research. EMDR is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as an effective treatment for PTSD.

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What happens in EMDR?

  • You and your therapist will agree on key traumatic memories that you want to work on
  • Your therapist will continue to work with you and focus on specific memories until the intense affect associated with them has decreased
  • EMDR can be delivered as a therapy in its own right or sometimes you might receive it in conjunction with another therapeutic approach

Frequently asked questions

You are likely to be offered EMDR if you have experienced trauma, whether that was a single traumatic event or a series of more pervasive traumatic events. EMDR can be especially effective if you are experiencing PTSD flashbacks or intrusive thoughts that involve re-experiencing this trauma.

Schema therapy can also be an appropriate model for dealing with past trauma. Whether you are offered EMDR rather than schema therapy depends on whether your symptoms and difficulties lend themselves to a more targeted approach like EMDR. Ultimately, this will come down to what both you and your therapist believe you will most benefit from.

EMDR is often a short-term intervention and generally lasts anywhere from 6 – 12 sessions. But ultimately, it depends on the nature of your trauma as well as how many traumatic events you are working on.

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Athena Lazaridou

Athena is a Pilates instructor with 8 years’ experience in the field. After completing a Power Pilates Mat Certification in Athens, she went on to complete the Full Comprehensive Classical Pilates Certification with Equinox in Kensington.  She has been teaching Pilates at Equinox for the past 6 years in addition to her own private clients who she trains both face to face and virtually.

Athena has a passion for helping people get stronger and fitter as well as helping those recovering from injury regain their strength and mobility.  Over the years, she has worked with athletes to incorporate Pilates into their training and improve performance. Athena has also worked with prenatal and postnatal women who may be experiencing depression or other mental health difficulties and used Pilates to facilitate a positive impact on their mental health.

Athena is very passionate about improving physical and mental well-being and has recently incorporated Sound Healing into her work, as she believes it to be one of the best ways of ‘letting go’ and releasing stale energy whilst increasing greater self-awareness.