EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy

EMDR is a unique, effective therapy that helps people recover from problems triggered by traumatic events in their lives. It stops difficult memories causing so much distress by helping the brain to reprocess them properly.

EMDR is best known for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and it can also help with a range of mental health conditions in people of all ages. It is recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

EMDR was initially developed in 1987 for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and it is guided by the concept that symptoms of PTSD and other disorders (unless physically- or chemically-based) result from distressing past experiences that continue to be disturbing because the memory has not been adequately processed. These inadequately processed memories are understood to contain the emotions, thoughts, beliefs and physical sensations that occurred at the time of the event. When the memories are triggered these stored disturbing elements are experienced and cause the symptoms of PTSD and/or other disorders.

While many other treatments focus on directly altering the emotions, thoughts and behavioural responses resulting from traumatic experiences, EMDR therapy focuses directly on the memory; it works to change the way the brain stores the memory, thereby reducing and eliminating the problematic symptoms.

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Our EMDR Expertise

Both Steven Hall and Norman Finlayson have been studying a Masters Degree in EMDR at the University of Worcester. This is the highest qualification in EMDR worldwide. Lucia Hall has been practicing EMDR for over 15 years and has completed the full range of standardised training (Levels 1 – 3. plus additional training for working with children).

We also have taken specialised training to enable us to work just as effectively with EMDR online.

Call or email The TRANSFORMATION Centre now to book an appointment
07834 470 248

More About EMDR (for those that are interested!)

EMDR is a structured therapy that encourages the client to briefly focus on the traumatic memory while at the same time experiencing bilateral stimulation* (when doing in-person sessions, we use eye movements coupled with buzzers in hands, online we utilise rhythmic tapping coupled with other tasks). This process typically leads to a reduction in the vividness of the trauma image as well as a corresponding reduction in the intensity of emotion associated with the trauma memory.

According to the EMDR Research Foundation, “EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR therapy includes a set of standardised protocols that incorporate elements from many different treatment approaches. To date, EMDR has helped millions of people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress.”

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It is theorised that EMDR works because the “bilateral stimulation” by-passes the area of the brain that has become stuck due to the trauma and is preventing the brain from proper processing and storage of the memory. During EMDR, individuals process the memory safely and that leads to a peaceful resolution resulting in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing event and the negative thoughts about themselves that have grown out of the original traumatic event.

EMDR therapy has been endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). It is used by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the US Department of Defense, the United Kingdom Department of Health and the Israeli National Council for Mental Health.

According to the EMDR Research Foundation, there are over 30 gold standard research studies that document the effectiveness of EMDR therapy with a diverse range of cases including rape and sexual abuse, combat trauma, childhood trauma and neglect, life-threatening accidents, and symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

Two of the therapists at The Transformation Centre (Norman and Steven) are in the process of completing their dissertations for the unique Master of Science degree in EMDR (MSc). This course is currently the highest EMDR qualification available and is taught only at the University of Worcester. They have already achieved the standard for Postgraduate Diplomas in EMDR.

* Bilateral stimulation is the use of visual, auditory, or tactile external stimuli occurring in a rhythmic side-to-side pattern.

Some Published EMDR Case Studies

Domestic Violence

Phillips, K.M., Freund, B., Fordiani, J., Kuhn, R., & Ironson, G. (2009). EMDR treatment of past domestic violence: A clinical vignette. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 3(3), 192-197.

Substance Dependence and PTSD

Kullack, C., & Laugharne, J.. (2016). Standard EMDR protocol for alcohol and substance dependence comorbid with posttraumatic stress disorder: Four cases with 12-month follow-up.  Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 10(1), 33-46.


Aranda, B. D. E., Ronquillo, N. M., & Calvillo, M. E. N.. (2015). Neuropsychological and physiological outcomes pre- and post-EMDR therapy for a woman with PTSD: A case study. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 9(4), 174-187.

Acute Stress Disorder

Buydens, S. L., Wilensky, M., & Hensley, B. J. (2014). Effects of the EMDR protocol for recent traumatic events on acute stress disorder: A case series. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 8(1), 102-112.

Workplace Trauma

Rost, C., Hofmann, A., & Wheeler, K. (2009). EMDR treatment of workplace trauma: A case series. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 3(2), 80-90.

EEG Imaging of EMDR

Pagani, M., et al. (2011). Pretreatment, intratreatment, and posttreatment EEG imaging of EMDR: Methodology and preliminary results from a single case. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 5(2), 42-56.

Adverse Childhood Experiences – A common source of trauma

Possibly one of the most important studies ever undertaken is the ACE Study, initiated by Kaiser Permanente. It looked at the association between ACEs and negative outcomes during one’s lifespan. The findings show significant increases in the rates of: 

In addition, ACEs showed an association with lowered levels of:

Almost two-thirds of the participants reported experiencing at least one Adverse Childhood Event.

Persons who had experienced four or more categories of childhood exposure to ACEs, compared to those who had experienced none, had 4- to 12-fold increased health risks for alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, and suicide attempt; a 2- to 4-fold increase in smoking, poor self-rated health, and sexually transmitted disease; and a 1.4- to 1.6-fold increase in physical inactivity and severe obesity. The number of categories of adverse childhood exposures showed a graded relationship to the presence of adult diseases including ischemic heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, skeletal fractures, and liver disease. The seven categories of adverse childhood experiences were strongly interrelated and persons with multiple categories of childhood exposure were likely to have multiple health risk factors later in life.

Felitti, V. J. et al (1998) “Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults” American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 14:4, p.245-258 DOI:

The ACE study looked at the following ten categories of ACEs:

Hoqwever, Finklehor* and his team (2012) have proposed revising these ten categories into the following 14  categories (note, 6 of the original categories remain) as their research showed that the following 14  categories are better indicators of trauma and PTSD:

It is interesting that Finklehor’s study found that parents arguing all the time was far more significant than either separation or divorce.

*Finklehor, D., Shattuck, A., Turner, H. & Hamby, S. (2012) “Improving the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study Scale” Archives of  Pediatrics & Adolescent Medecine. Published online November 26, 2012.

More on the ACEs Study

Here’s a link to two short, informative videos about the ACEs study:

If you want a little more depth, here’s a link to a fascinating 32-minute talk by Dr Vincent Feliti, one of the two researchers in the original study:

And if you would like to read something from a reputable journal, here’s one of the original articles from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM):


Reference: Felitti, V. J. et al (1998) “Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, (14:4, p.245-258
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0749-3797(98)00017-8.)