Alison Hamley
HCPC Accredited Clinical Psychologist
Psychology in Oxford and online
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About CBT and EMDR

CBT (Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy) is a a talking therapy which explores how a person's thoughts and beliefs (referred to as cognition) affect their feelings and behaviour. Therapy is usually short-term and relies on a collaborative relationship between therapist and client. Clients are encouraged to set specific goals at the beginning of therapy (for example, a goal might be to develop increased confidence in social situations). Treatment often involves developing new skills in order to cope more effectively with difficulties.

CBT is recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) for a number of psychological difficulties including anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and psychosis and bipolar disorder. Research has also shown that CBT is effective in treating a number of other problems including sleep difficulties, anger, chronic fatigue, chronic pain and physical symptoms without a medical diagnosis. You can find out more about CBT here.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy) is a powerful psychological treatment, first developed by Dr Francine Shapiro in the 1980s. It is a scientifically supported treatment for PTSD recommended by numerous organisations internationally (e.g. World Health Organisation, 2013). Research conducted over many years has shown it to be a beneficial treatment for traumas arising resulting from combat exposure, accidents, childhood physical and/or sexual abuse, surgical trauma, and natural disasters. In more recent years, EMDR has been used to help individuals with other issues (such as performance anxiety, self-esteem issues, phobias, and other trauma related anxiety disorders).

EMDR is a very structured therapy, which uses standardised procedures and protocols. A major feature of treatment is the use of repeated eye movements, which result in bilateral stimulation of the brain. It is believed that this stimulation facilitates the processing of traumatic memories, making use of the brains natural ability to heal psychological damage. You can find out more about EMDR here.

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