EMDR therapy




Recovery Through Remembering: Overcoming PTSD with EMDR

April 23, 2024





Recovery Through Remembering: Overcoming PTSD with EMDR

Are you struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and searching for the right treatment for you? Discover how EMDR can help you to overcome PTSD.

What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can occur in individuals who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. It is characterised by a range of symptoms that can significantly impact a person's daily life. Some common symptoms of PTSD include intrusive thoughts and memories of the traumatic event, flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety or panic attacks

Individuals with PTSD may also experience avoidance behaviours, such as avoiding places or activities that remind them of the traumatic event, as well as negative changes in thoughts and moods, including feelings of guilt, shame, or detachment from others.

If you suspect that you or someone you know may be suffering with symptoms of PTSD, it is important to reach out and seek professional help and support. 

How do I know if I have PTSD?

Wondering if you may have PTSD? First, it’s important to understand the symptoms associated with this condition. 

The symptoms of PTSD can vary from person to person, but there are some common signs to look out for. 


One of the main symptoms of PTSD is experiencing flashbacks or intrusive thoughts about the traumatic event. These flashbacks can be vivid and make you feel as though you are reliving the trauma. 


Other symptoms may include avoidance of reminders of the trauma. Trying to avoid places, people, noises, smells or even songs are very common if you are suffering from PTSD.

Other symptoms include heightened arousal and negative changes in mood or cognition. As a result of these flashbacks and intrusive thoughts, individuals may also suffer from nightmares, severe anxiety and panic attacks. 

PTSD can also result in other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, self-destructive behaviour such as self-harm, or developing a reliance on unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drugs and alcohol.

What is complex PTSD?

Complex PTSD, also known as C-PTSD, is characterised by a prolonged and repeated exposure to traumatic events. 

Unlike traditional PTSD, which is often caused by a single traumatic incident, complex PTSD is the result of ongoing trauma, such as childhood abuse, domestic violence or prolonged captivity. This prolonged exposure to trauma can have a significant impact on an individual's mental and emotional well-being.

One effective treatment option for complex PTSD is EMDR. Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing can help individuals to process the traumatic memories that they are suffering through and regain control over their lives. 

It involves the use of bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements or tapping, to help the brain reprocess traumatic memories and reduce the emotional distress associated with them. 

EMDR has been found to be particularly helpful for individuals with PTSD and complex EMDR, as it addresses the underlying trauma and helps to reduce symptoms.

How long does EMDR take to work for PTSD?

On average, EMDR treatment for PTSD can take anywhere from 8 to 12 sessions, although some individuals may require more or fewer sessions. 

My EMDR treatment sessions involve either eye movements or, for online treatments, the “butterfly hug” method which involves tapping, and verbal processing. 

During these sessions, I will help you to focus on the traumatic memories that are bothering you, whilst simultaneously engaging in bilateral stimulation.

The length of time it takes for EMDR to work for PTSD can also depend on the individual's readiness and willingness to engage in the therapeutic process. 

Some individuals may experience significant relief from PTSD symptoms after just a few sessions, while others may require more time to fully process and integrate their traumatic experiences.

It is important to note that my EMDR treatment is highly individualised, and progress can vary from person to person. 

Throughout treatment, I work closely with my clients to develop a treatment plan tailored to their specific needs and goals. With regular sessions and a commitment to the therapy process, many individuals find significant relief from their symptoms.

Can EMDR help recover memories?

It is important to note that while EMDR can aid in memory retrieval, it is not a guaranteed method for recovering all memories. 

Memories are complex and influenced by various factors such as emotional state, suggestibility, and the passage of time. EMDR should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for PTSD, alongside other evidence-based therapies. The focus of EMDR should be on processing and healing from traumatic experiences, rather than solely on memory recovery.

Can PTSD be cured with EMDR?

Research studies have shown that EMDR treatment for PTSD can lead to significant improvements in symptoms and overall well-being. The therapy aims to help individuals desensitise and reprocess traumatic memories, allowing them to integrate the experience into their past rather than reliving it in the present. This process can help reduce the distress associated with the trauma and promote healing.

While there is no definitive cure for PTSD, EMDR therapy has shown promising results in alleviating symptoms and helping individuals regain control over their lives. The therapy focuses on targeting the underlying causes of PTSD rather than just managing the symptoms. 

By addressing the root causes of the disorder, EMDR treatment can potentially lead to long-term resolution of the traumatic experiences.

Who is not a good candidate for EMDR therapy?

One group that may not be suitable for EMDR therapy is individuals who have difficulty regulating their emotions and those who are currently experiencing severe emotional dysregulation

EMDR therapy involves recalling traumatic memories, which can be emotionally intense. If a person is unable to effectively manage their emotions, this process may lead to increased distress and could potentially worsen their symptoms.

Another group that may not benefit from EMDR therapy is individuals who are currently in crisis or experiencing acute stress

In these situations, it is important to prioritise stabilisation and safety before engaging in trauma-focused therapy like EMDR. Addressing immediate needs and establishing a strong support system is crucial before embarking on the journey of trauma processing.

It’s for this reason that the first step of my EMDR treatments is assessing whether you are suitable for this type of therapy or whether you might benefit from another route. 

Where can I go for EMDR therapy?

Are you thinking of trying EMDR for PTSD or complex PTSD? I offer face-to-face sessions from my clinic in Warrington, or online appointments via Zoom. 

If you’re ready to start your healing journey, please get in touch with me today.

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