What is CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)?
CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is one of the most effective techniques for treating people living with a range of anxious and depressive symptoms. It is a relatively straightforward therapy, which is often quite brief.
CBT looks at how our thoughts influence our emotions, physical sensations and determine our behaviour. When we are feeling stressed or low, we can have a lot more negative thoughts about ourselves in addition to what might happen in the future. This can result in unhelpful behaviour such as avoidance of situations.
CBT teaches us to help identify these thoughts, challenge them in order to help you think differently, which will then help you engage in more helpful behaviour. The whole purpose of CBT is to give you a set of skills that can be transferred to different aspects of your life and allow you to become your own therapist.
What is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing)?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that allows individuals to heal from their symptoms and emotional distress that have been caused by disturbing life events. There has been a lot of studies around EMDR and the results show that individuals who receive EMDR can experience the positives of psychotherapy that in the past, would have taken years to make a difference.
There is a belief that emotional pain can take a long time to heal. Studies into EMDR show that the mind can heal from psychological trauma just as the body recovers from physical pain. If you physically injure yourself, your body naturally works to heal it. If however, there is a foreign object in your body, your body is unable to fully heal. If we remove the object, the body will then work to heal it. This is quite similar in EMDR. Sometimes when we have been involved in a traumatic/distressing event your brain can’t naturally heal and it becomes blocked. If the incident is blocked this results in distressing images, emotional and physical sensations.
By implementing EMDR, we can unblock channels and allow the body to heal. EMDR is broken down into 8 phases. Eye movements (or other forms of bilateral stimulation) are used in part of the processing. Once we determine which memory to work on first, you will hold part of that image in your head in addition to the negative belief and you will use your eyes to track the clinicians hand as it moves back and forth across the client’s field of vision. The reason we do this is connected to what happens in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep – allowing the client to process the distressing event and emotions associated. If an event is successfully processed, the individual processes the meaning of the event on an emotional event.
For example, a survivor of a car accident moves from feeling vulnerable and fearful towards the positive belief of “I survived and I am strong”. Compared to talking therapy, the insight and knowledge the clients gain do not come from the clinician but from the client’s own cognitive and emotional processes. So not only do we heal the would but we also transform it all without speaking about the incident in detail or doing homework, compared to other talking therapies.