EMDR Therapy in London & Online
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is a treatment method that focuses on reprocessing difficult memories to resolve symptoms that arise as a result of those memories. While it’s typically used to treat PTSD and trauma, it effectively treats a range of other difficulties. EMDR can help you alleviate distress and regain control over your life. Learn more about EMDR below. Get in touch for EMDR therapy in London today.
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Discover EMDR Therapy
What Is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing, a therapy designed to help people deal with distressing memories, particularly those caused by trauma and other mental health difficulties such as depression and anxiety.
EMDR therapy relies on the Adaptive Information Processing Model that assumes that every new experience is absorbed by existing memory networks made of our past experiences. Memory networks can help us navigate future problems and teach us how to respond in certain situations. For example, as children, we often learn that something is wrong by facing the consequences of doing it. If we jump from a tree and hurt our knees, we’ll likely never do it again. Similarly, trauma is stored in the brain; however, it’s not correctly processed and fails to connect with other networks. As a result, negative emotions associated with the distressing memory can become activated when we face a trigger. This can be reversed by creating new neural pathways and overriding the old ones using bilateral stimulation. You’ll learn more about bilateral stimulation below.
What Does EMDR Therapy Involve?
EMDR therapy assumes that a memory that has not been processed is linked to other unprocessed components: thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and sensations that occurred at the time of the distressing event. When this memory is triggered, you may re-experience those components, which then result in unpleasant symptoms. Unlike other therapies, EMDR uniquely focuses on memory and altering the way it’s stored in the brain instead of identifying and changing its elements.
How Does EMDR Therapy Look?
In the first phase of treatment, an EMDR trained therapist will discuss your distressing memories and triggers with you, then help you identify treatment goals and explain how the processing of memory will look like.
The next step is an assessment that focuses on identifying a target memory for the current session and images and beliefs associated with it. For example, suppose you’re suffering from low self-esteem due to bullying. In that case, your therapist will help you choose a specific memory that made you believe you aren’t good enough, likeable enough etc. Your therapist will then choose a positive belief that contradicts the belief that arose from the trauma and is used to further help you process it. For example, a thought that says you’re good enough and aren’t defined by your past experiences may be more adaptive and a preferred belief to live by going forward.
You’ll be asked to recall a traumatic memory in the main phase while the therapist directs your eye movement. When your eyes move from side to side, it prevents your working memory from fully concentrating on the upsetting memory, allowing you to eventually become desensitised. In other words, you won’t forget what happened to you, but you’ll be able to lessen the negative emotions associated with it. While directing eye movements, your therapist might ask questions to establish what thoughts emerged and subsequently reinforce the previously selected positive belief in the last stage.
Processing a painful memory might lead to experiencing unpleasant somatic symptoms such as tension. If that’s the case, the therapist will continue with further processing until the symptoms eradicate. If processing isn’t complete, you’ll be guided through self-control techniques that can be used outside of the therapy sessions. These can include imagining your safe space, which can also be constructed during the sessions with your therapist. Lastly, targets and goals for the next session are discussed.
How Long Does EMDR Therapy Take?
The length of the EMDR therapy will depend on your goals and symptoms, but results are typically seen within 6 to 12 sessions. For example, treating phobia usually takes 7 sessions.  If you’re dealing with one stressor, you might achieve results faster than someone with more complex needs. For example, someone who experienced repeated trauma will likely have more to work through than someone who experienced one traumatic event.
How Does EMDR Differ From CBT?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and EMDR are both effective but very different treatments.
CBT is a talking therapy that aims to modify cognitive distortions and teach you healthy coping skills. It’s based on the assumption that thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are interconnected, so changing the way you think will positively impact your emotions and behaviours. For example, if you choose to treat your PTSD symptoms with trauma-focused CBT therapy, the focus might be on self-blaming thoughts resulting from trauma.
Unlike CBT and other therapies, EMDR isn’t a talking therapy. It might work best for people who aren’t ready to fully open up about the traumatic experience. It uses bilateral processing to reprocess traumatic memories and change how they are stored in the brain.
EMDR is often confused with Exposure Therapy that aims to gradually expose a patient to their fear. However, EMDR doesn’t require bringing up all the details of the trauma and uses the free association method to access upsetting memories.
Can EMDR Be Done Online?
Yes, it’s possible to deliver EMDR therapy online. While the effectiveness of online EMDR alone has yet to be researched further, studies that combined Internet-delivered CBT and EMDR show satisfactory results.  Since it’s possible to stimulate two sides of the brain simultaneously using online tools, there’s no reason EMDR online wouldn’t be as effective as in-person therapy. Bilateral stimulation can be achieved by asking a patient to think about a memory and having them follow the movement on the screen. In one study, for example, participants were looking at letters on the left and right sides of the screen and had to press the spacebar when an unknown letter appeared.  Another technique using the butterfly hug, where clients cross their arms and tap their shoulders in an alternative rhythm, is a valuable substitute for online and phone therapy.
Does EMDR Therapy Work with Trauma And PTSD in London?
EMDR has been recognised as the primary treatment for PTSD and trauma thanks to its high success rate. Results from a study conducted in 2012 indicate that 77% of patients experience a decrease in symptoms such as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. 
However, EMDR can be used to treat other issues as well, such as:
- depression and anxiety: studies show EMDR reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety and improves the overall quality of life 
- panic disorder and phobias: EMDR can alleviate symptoms associated with phobias, for example, sleeping problems 
- chronic pain: chronic pain sufferers report reduced pain after receiving EMDR treatment 
It might also be used to treat disorders or symptoms that develop as a result of traumatic experiences, for example, eating disorders, self-harm, addiction, anger.
What are The Benefits of EMDR Therapy?
Given its success rate, EMDR therapy can reduce unpleasant symptoms and help you improve your overall quality of life. Benefits are that:
- It doesn’t involve as much talking as other therapies
- It typically provides relatively fast and long-lasting results
- It results in experiencing fewer negative beliefs that arise from trauma
- It helps develop healthy coping skills
Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting EMDR Therapy
1. It might get worse before it gets better
This can be applied to all kinds of treatments, but it’s essential to keep in mind with EDMR therapy. Even though results can be seen relatively quickly, remember that focussing on difficult memories might temporarily increase distress. Processing may also occur between sessions, and your therapist will help to equip you with techniques on how to manage this outside of the therapy room. This is common to several therapies dealing with trauma, including trauma-focused CBT. Give yourself time to recover, work at your own pace and don’t rush your progress. Be open with your therapist about how you’re feeling and if you need to take things slower.
2. It’s okay to feel anxious
Making a decision to seek help when you’re struggling can be difficult. You might worry treatment won’t work or that you won’t make enough effort to get better. It’s okay not to feel fully mentally prepared to start therapy. Remember to raise any concerns you have with your therapist: you are not alone on your journey!
3. EMDR is not as intense as it seems
Therapy is hard work, and EMDR is no different. Still, a common misconception is that you’ll be required to constantly relive intense memories. However, you won’t have to describe anything in detail, and you’ll be taught strategies that increase a sense of safety when needed. It’s also normal to feel on edge when you know you might be working with distressing memories, even if not too much in detail
4. EMDR isn’t a quick fix
It has a greater success rate in treating trauma-related difficulties than any other therapy. Still, everyone is different and likely to be dealing with more than one stressors at the time of treatment. Another common misconception is that EMDR doesn’t require clients to do any work. Still, just like any other type of therapy, it requires you to put in the effort. Try not to compare your progress to others or to average treatment times.
Tips For Handling EMDR Therapy as A Patient
1. Trust your therapist
EMDR is not a magic pill and doesn’t work for everyone. If you feel like you aren’t making any progress, don’t be afraid to confide in your therapist and share your concerns. Your therapist’s goal is the same as yours: to help you get better. Your working alliance can be one of the most potent forces in therapy.
2. Develop healthy habits
Since EMDR may temporarily increase your symptoms, it’s good to prepare for this possibility. Make sure you eat healthy food and engage in daily exercise to keep anxiety at bay. It may also be helpful to keep a journal of your daily thoughts and emotions!
3. Practice relaxation techniques
Learning how to relax will make it easier to deal with the increased distress you might experience at the start of therapy. If you don’t know any relaxation techniques, ask your therapist to teach you a few that may be helpful and tailored around your needs and lifestyle. Alternatively, check out ‘relaxation techniques’ videos on YouTube.
Tips To Help Someone Going Through EMDR Therapy
1. Learn more about EMDR
Learning about how EMDR works will help you understand the changes your loved ones might be going through. For example, they might become more distressed or mentally exhausted. If this happens, give them space when they need it but encourage them to engage in self-care.
2. Encourage them
To support a loved one going through therapy, it’s important not to rush their progress but to encourage them to stick to treatment even if they find it challenging. Let your loved one know you’re there for them and ask about things you could do to help!
3. Show that you’re willing to listen
If they reach out for support, thank them for sharing their experience and support them without judgement. Chances are they’re feeling vulnerable and may not have shared how they feel with many others before.
4. Don’t take things personally
At the same time, if they don’t want to open up, don’t take it personally. Processing their feelings can be exhausting and takes time. Give them time and space while trying to be patient and present.
Our therapists specialised in EMDR Therapy
All of our therapists are qualified psychologists, psychotherapists or counsellors registered with several professional bodies. These include the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the British Psychological Society (BPS), as well as, BACP, UKCP and BABCP.
Our therapists use CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), psychodynamic, humanistic and integrative approaches tailored around your needs to help you deal with your unique challenges and reach your goals.
The Therapist l had was absolutely brilliant with me. He had patience with me and bit by bit l gained a little of confidence to try and get out and go on the buses.
He deserves an award and if l could l would in the beginning l thought how is this person going to get me back on public transport but he did he gave me the confidence l lost and now have back.
I will never forget him and what he has done for me. I wish him nothing but the best in his life.
My therapist was excellent. I highly recommend her and I am truly thankful for my sessions, I left feeling confident and positive.
The mental tools, systems and approaches I have been able to develop with her and use in my life have been hugely beneficial.
Thank you to all at Therapy Central.
The Therapist really gave me the space to talk and express my feelings and fears in a very comforting environment.
She was there not only to listen, but challenge my thinking, guide me during the uncertainty I was experiencing and give me useful and practical tips to improve my mental health and wellbeing. Highly recommended!
Working with the therapist has been a life-changing experience. Each session has been invaluable, helping me gain a good understanding of CBT methodology enabling me to incorporate ways to combat stress and anxiety in my daily life.
The Therapist shows that she really cares and has the ability to make you feel calm whilst discussing any personal issue.
Fees & Insurances
Therapy, Counselling and CBT sessions are 50 minutes long and are usually held at regular weekly time slots.
15 Minute initial
£105 - £120
Your Private Healthcare Insurance Provider
EMDR Therapy in London & Online
EMDR therapy is an excellent option for those who want to lessen their distressing symptoms and regain a sense of agency over their life. This is especially true if you’re struggling with past trauma or PTSD.
At Therapy Central, we have qualified therapists that specialise in both face-to-face and online EMDR. Contact us for a free 15 min consultation with a EMDR Therapist to see if our help would fit your needs. You can also get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (+44) 020 348 82797.
What happens after I make an enquiry?
After receiving your enquiry we’ll contact you to organise a FREE phone consultation. You will be able to tell us more about your specific circumstances and needs and ask any questions you have. Then, if you want to proceed with therapy or counselling, we’ll match you with the therapist(s) with the best expertise to help you with your challenges and send you a list of their available appointment slots. If you’re satisfied with one of these, we can then go ahead and book your first appointment. You can also request to work with a specific practitioner and, depending on availability we’ll try accomodate this.
What happens at my first appointment with the therapist?
Your first session will likely be different than future appointments. You and your therapist will get to know each other and will begin to build a working alliance. It will be a chance to have the confidential space to express your circumstances, feelings and thoughts and being listened to with depth, attention, empathy and without judgement . Your therapist will likely ask you more about your reasons for seeking therapy, and any symptoms you’re experiencing. You may also be asked questions about your past and the history of your issues, as well as how they currently impact your life in the present. Finally, your first session may be a powerful place to discuss what you would like to achieve with therapy and agree on the length, methods and approaches of treatment.
Is online therapy effective?
If you choose online over in-person therapy rest assured that this has been proven to be just as effective as regular face to face therapy, and in some cases even more effective. In addition, choosing online therapy brings additional benefits, for example avoiding longer waiting times, greater flexibility with appointments and you won’t need to travel to our practice. You can enjoy online therapy from the comfort of your home.
How long the Therapy/counselling sessions last?
Therapy/counselling sessions last 50 minutes and are held at regular weekly time slots. On occasions we are able to allow some flexibility. This can be discussed with your therapist.
Do you offer reduced rates/concessions?
We offer low-cost rates at £60 per session to people with a low income, unemployed or students. Please highlight in your enquiry if you would like a concession rate and how you qualify for this. Depending on the availability of our therapists, we’ll do our best to accommodate your request.
Do you have a cancellation policy?
We have a 48 hours no-fee cancellation policy. However you will be charged for sessions missed without giving the full notice.
Our Practice in Central London
Our comfortable and confidential therapy rooms are conveniently located 3 min walk from Oxford Circus station, in Central London (see map below). Change starts with Talking!