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Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing Therapy

Many psychologists and researchers believe that psychological distress is caused by issues with 'poor communication' within different areas of the brain. EMDR assumes that the strong emotions experienced in trauma (and difficult experiences) interfere with how memories are stored, disconnecting them from existing, and more up-to-date memory 'networks'. EMDR has been designed specifically to help us process traumas by engaging our 'adaptive information processing system' to help restore homeostasis (balance) within the brain and the nervous system. 

By focusing on trauma images, feelings, sensations and beliefs, and simultaneously engaging in bi-lateral movements or sounds, the therapist helps the clients to locate, hold in place, process/ metabolise, and release information that is stuck in maladaptive survival modes or networks. Through this, the emotional charge around the memory is diminished and the network is reintegrated into the rest of the brain. If the client is not able to remember the past event, we are typically able to work with the presenting complaint directly and access the body memory via different channels. Changes are achieved on a neurological level, and whilst of course past memories cannot be erased, they can lose their emotional charge. One of the advantages of EMDR is that one does not need to discuss the events in detail. The process is quick and more comfortable than in standard talking therapies and the result is that the client quickly begins to feel less anxious, more confident and comfortable in their own skin. ​


EMDR is a powerful and transformational psychotherapy that is recommended by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) and many other international bodies for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is widely practiced in the NHS. Alongside its proven effectiveness for PTSD and trauma, there are many published peer reviewed studies showing its effectiveness with phobias, anger, different anxiety disorders, grief, low self-esteem, complex trauma, chronic pain, addictions, anger etc. 


EMDR can be practiced as a standalone therapy or in conjunction with other therapies including IFS and  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

"We are not changing what happened to us, we are changing the way it lives within us."   

EMDR IFS Therapist London York,Lisbon on-line

    - Unknown 

Have you considered Combining EMDR therapy with Internal Family Systems Therapy?

Combining Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) with Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy offers a comprehensive and nuanced approach to addressing trauma and other psychological issues. Here are some key benefits of integrating these two therapeutic modalities:


1. Holistic Healing Approach

  • IFS: Provides a framework for understanding and working with the different parts of the self, including those that have been traumatized (Exiles) and those that protect the self from trauma (Managers and Firefighters).

  • EMDR: Focuses on the reprocessing and desensitization of traumatic memories to reduce their impact on the present.

  • Combined: Integrating these approaches allows for simultaneous healing of the mind and body. IFS helps clients understand and integrate different parts of themselves, while EMDR processes and reduces the distress associated with traumatic memories.

2. Enhanced Safety and Stability

  • IFS: Establishes a connection with the Self, the core compassionate and undamaged part of the person, which provides a sense of stability and safety.

  • EMDR: Uses bilateral stimulation to process trauma but can sometimes be intense for clients.

  • Combined: IFS helps ensure that clients are in a stable and safe state before and during EMDR processing, reducing the risk of overwhelm or re-traumatization.

3. Deeper Understanding and Integration

  • IFS: Offers insights into the internal system of parts and how they interact and influence behaviour and emotions.

  • EMDR: Facilitates the reprocessing of specific traumatic memories.

  • Combined: By integrating EMDR within the IFS framework, clients can gain a deeper understanding of how specific memories affect different parts of themselves. This leads to more thorough and integrated healing.

4. Targeted and Specific Interventions

  • IFS: Helps identify which parts hold trauma and which protect against it.

  • EMDR: Focuses on processing traumatic memories associated with distress.

  • Combined: IFS can guide the selection of targets for EMDR by identifying specific parts and their related memories. This targeted approach can make EMDR more effective by addressing the most relevant issues for the client's internal system.

5. Increased Client Empowerment

  • IFS: Empowers clients by helping them connect with their Self and understand their internal parts.

  • EMDR: Empowers clients by reducing the emotional charge of traumatic memories.

  • Combined: Integrating these therapies empowers clients to take an active role in their healing process. They learn to navigate their internal landscape with greater self-compassion and effectiveness.

6. Improved Therapeutic Alliance

  • IFS: Emphasizes a collaborative and compassionate therapeutic relationship.

  • EMDR: Relies on the therapist’s guidance to navigate through traumatic memories.

  • Combined: The compassionate and collaborative nature of IFS can enhance the therapeutic alliance, making clients feel more supported and understood during EMDR sessions. This strong alliance is crucial for effective trauma therapy.

7. Flexibility and Adaptability

  • IFS: Offers a flexible framework that can be adapted to different therapeutic needs.

  • EMDR: Can be integrated at various stages of therapy, depending on the client's readiness and needs.

  • Combined: The integration of IFS and EMDR provides therapists with a flexible toolkit to adapt their approach to the unique needs of each client, ensuring a more personalized and effective therapy.


Integrating EMDR with IFS therapy offers a powerful and comprehensive approach to trauma treatment. The combination leverages the strengths of both modalities, providing holistic healing, enhanced safety, deeper understanding, targeted interventions, increased empowerment, improved therapeutic alliance, and flexibility. This integration can lead to more effective and lasting healing for clients dealing with trauma and other psychological issues.

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