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Childhood abuse victims receive ‘light therapy’ to erase memories

childhood abuse light therapyA pioneering project has been launched by the Scottish government to help survivors of childhood abuse overcome traumatic nightmares and flashbacks.

Light therapy has been described as ‘physiotherapy for the brain’ and works by merging two forms of therapy:

  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Emotional freedom technique (EMT)

EDMR requires patients to focus on lights or buzzers which then work to erase abuse memories via a process known as dual attention stimulation.

EFT involves gentle taps along the body’s natural energy pathways (meridian lines), a technique thought to be very effective for treating phobias and anxiety.

The use of light therapy has, according to the NHS Forth Valley’s head of behavioural psychology Therese McGoldrick, significantly improved the lives of a number of patients who previously found their experiences too traumatic to talk about.

Janine Rennie, chief executive of childhood abuse charity Open Secret, said: “Sometimes people use drugs and alcohol to help blot out memories. Others may self harm. Many become permanently tired as they are frightened of falling asleep in case they have nightmares.”

Light therapy is available to everyone in Scotland and usually begins within six weeks of referral and involves up to eight treatment sessions.

There are many alternative and complementary therapies available to help with a wide range of psychological and physical problems. To find out more, please visit our Therapies Topics pages and browse categories.

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Written by Zoe Thomas

Written by Zoe Thomas

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