Pop singer Melb B is said to be undergoing eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing– also known as EMDR. According to quotes in the Guardian, she says: ” I am still struggling but if I can shine a light on the issue of pain, PTSD and the things men and women do to mask it, I will do. So far, it’s (EMDR) is really helping me.”
But what is it? Robin Logie, clinical psychologist and former president of the EMDR association, says it helps the brain process traumatic memories. Mainly used as a treatment for PTSD, it can also help with depression, anxiety, addiction and phobias. “The way we do that is to get the person to think about a particular moment. For example, with a road traffic accident – it could be the moment just before you’re hit. We ask them to describe what negative belief they have about themselves.” It could be something like: ‘I’m not safe.’” We ask what emotion seems to go with that and where they feel it in their body.”
While the therapist is doing this, patients will be asked to move their eyes from side-to-side, or follow flashing lights, repeating this 20 to 30 times per session.
“The memory starts to become less distressing,” Robin says. “It transforms it from a memory that previously made you feel anxious or scared, into a memory that is like any other that wouldn’t normally produce an emotional response. People start to be more rational about it: ‘I wasn’t in a safe situation then, but I’m safe now.’”
But it’s not suitable for everyone , he adds:” If someone has had a simple one-off trauma, such as an accident, in their adult life, you don’t need to do a lot of preparation, but we also work with people who have multiple traumas going back to early childhood. With people like that you have to do more preparation and the therapy will last longer.”
Claudia Herbert, clinical psychologist and managing director of the Oxford Development Centre and author of Overcoming Traumatic Stress, adds: “Any type of therapy can be re-traumatising. It has to be used by someone who is properly trained and experienced to know when to use it and not to use it.” It wouldn’t be used with someone who was dissociated – one symptom of PTSD – where they are not “grounded” in their body, or feel disoriented. “We would have to work with the dissociation first before we work with EMDR.”
Here are some quick links to EMDR therapists in Singapore if you’re looking for more information below.
Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic has a team of clinicians that include psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists in Singapore who work together to provide holistic care treatments, including EMDR, for various conditions. Services that you can expect from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic will include pharmacotherapy, hypnotherapy as well as a wide range of therapy services including CBT, EMDR, Art Therapy and many others.
1 Coleman Street, The Adelphi
#04-32, Singapore 179803
Monday-Saturday: 10am to 7pm
Sun & PH: By Appointment
Telephone: 62509833 / Fax: 64932266
COLOURFULLY is a private practice in psychotherapy and facilitation based in Singapore. It offers individual sessions of Art Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy, EMDR Therapy and Executive Function Coaching for adults.
78B Pagoda Street, 3rd floor,
Telephone: +65 9876 6860
The Counselling Place was founded through the coming together of like-minded individuals who believe in providing quality, professional mental health care to our clients in Singapore.
105 Cecil Street, #07-01
By Kelvin Tan, Editor for Men’s Health Singapore