Traditional EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) has been used to treat trauma. The idea being that traumatic events can be left unprocessed, manifesting in problems in our bodies, behaviours, and relationships. A formal protocol is used to work through and help process historical traumatic events, and anxiety about future events. There is little space for analysing or exploring the relational side of yourself.
However, I have often found that we struggle to find or believe that what was experienced as a child is real trauma. Clients often say, "Well, it wasn't that bad..." This is where attachment-focused EMDR is useful.
Rather than looking for traumatic events we look at how the relationships around you as a child may have affected your development, both psychologically, and physiologically in your nervous system.
What if a parent was depressed and unable to be emotionally available to you as a child? Or a sibling bullied you? There maybe conscious memories of abuse or depravation. Or, there maybe just a feeling that something isn't right in your life, currently. Maybe there is a compulsive behaviour, partners don't stay longer than a few months, and so on. Or indeed, you may find that you recently experienced a traumatic event, a car accident, partner abuse, a robbery, for example.
What is interesting to note, is how you responded to these life events. Some people recover quickly, whereas others may experience a significant breakdown. Why?
AF-EMDR believes how we respond is rooted in our early development. For most people this is not surprising, but I find what AF-EMDR can reveal is often surprising. Sometimes the most innocuous of child hood events can be connected to recent behaviour, or inform how we respond to stressful events in the present.
AF-EMDR is a powerful psychotherapeutic technique, and in my clinical experience, can be very helpful. However, there is a lot of interest in EMDR on social media at the moment, with an idea that it is a panacea, a quick cure. It isn't. This work takes time, care, and sensitivity, with a suitably qualified and experienced therapist.
I also offer Adjunct- EMDR, essentially EMDR alongside existing therapy. If you are a therapist with a client you feel may benefit from this, or a client in therapy, please make contact to discuss options further.