Aswab are pleased to be able to offer EMDR on a private basis. We have both completed full three-part training in EMDR, and have experience of working with a variety of trauma and adjustment difficulties using EMDR.

There follows a description of PTSD and EMDR by Steve.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

It might help to explain what PTSD is. Without wanting to go into detail, (and having a somewhat jaundiced eye for the medical model anyway), PTSD is a diagnosis of anxiety, hyper-arousal or depression brought about by either an overwhelming traumatic event, (rape, severe crashes, Hillsborough stadium, etc.), or by longer periods of trauma, (childhood sexual abuse, neglect, etc.). In the face of such traumas, a high number of people (up to 50%) will experience ongoing effects, naturally, and this seems to be a way of the mind recovering from the effect of the trauma. This will drop off in time, and gradually many people will stop suffering. A significant minority, though, will continue to suffer from stress as a result of the trauma, and the amount of suffering will be effected by the amount of trauma in the first place, their ability to find support, how young they were when the trauma happened, how well they process stress related to their personal history and possibly genetic influences.

The most common treatment for PTSD is CBT, (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). There are a few different treatments within CBT, basically helping a sufferer to revisit the trauma, (either physically or mentally), and gradually to become less over-sensitised to the traumatic situation.


EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a treatment primarily for people suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It was first developed in the late 1980 by Francine Shapiro in the US, and has been extended in recent years, with training becoming available in the UK in 1995.

EMDR is a therapeutic intervention which works in similar ways to the CBT interventions, but works within a clearly defined, and quite short, structure. It was initially developed by Francine Shapiro as a way of the client performing eye movements at the instruction of the therapist, while holding in her (the client's) mind the traumatic event. It was found that when effective this quickly allowed the traumatic event to move from a currently held trauma into a more easily processed memory. From its early days this has now developed into a fully integrated 8-stage model.

EMDR has had a mixed press. In its early history it was both held as a potential 'miracle cure' and completely derided as being without scientific basis. In the last few years it has been researched into extensively, and has been shown to be at least as effective as CBT approaches, less traumatising, and with fewer potential side effects. Many trauma specialists, including Rape Crisis and a number of other trauma services use EMDR regularly, and is one of only two therapies prescribed for PTSD in the NICE guidelines.

While it was developed primarily for use with trauma, other areas which have found some success are panic attacks, anxiety, addictions, dissociative disorders, disturbing memories, stress reduction, complicated grief, physical or sexual abuse, stage fright, public speaking, phobias, phantom limb pain and pain in general. All of these areas are subject to on-going research, but at Aswab the main conditions treated are anxiety, PTSD, and the various types of fallout from abuse.

Lifespan Integration

Steve is also trained in Lifespan Integration, a gentle approach to allowing people to re-integrate trauma and early attachment difficulties. Please feel free to contact us about this, we will be happy to discuss it.