Eye Movement Integration (EMI)
Eye Movement Integration (EMI) Introduction
Do you experience flashbacks from a troubling event in your life where it is as if the experience is happening right now? You may find some release from using this method. I'm sure you have heard of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing). EMI is a similar but more holistic treatment form for working with trauma, from mild to severe trauma. Both treatment forms are helpful, however, EMI can be more effective and comprehensive.
How does EMI work?
EMI works with eye movements which help the brain and the body to process "frozen" trauma. For some it is as if the memory is stored in the muscles. It is described as a Neuro-Therapy which helps clients to process the effects of trauma that lives in the short term memory and still interferes with their lives. By processing different trauma-associated memories they can then be integrated and stored in the long term memory and become passive instead of active memories and emotions while physical symptoms might disappear or be notably lessened. Clients still remember their experiences but the emotional charge will be gone or greatly reduced.
What can be treated with EMI?
EMI helps with "mild" trauma (e.g. phobias and less serious accidents etc) known as Type 1 trauma as well as more severe trauma which often causes PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to develop. This includes repeated neglect, warfare experiences and sexual abuse etc - known as Type 2 Trauma. Certain kinds of depression, anxiety and addiction are connected to unprocessed trauma. These issues - and PTSD - can be treated with EMI. Treatment for Type 1 takes typically 1 or 2 sessions while Type 2 might need more work, typically up to 8 sessions.
Participants experiencing the treatment report on the day very impressive results with Type 1 trauma. The following day the main benefit report tends to be undisturbed sleep and feeling calmer. Some only need 1 or 2 sessions to resolve their issue.
How Eye Movement Integration relates to or can be enhanced by complementary/alternative therapy
EMI can be used as part of ongoing therapy with some clients who feel stuck. Things seem to move again in their processing and they become able to dis-identify from their traumatised inner parts and to create a "Unifying Centre", a more objective inner part that helps them to realise that healing is possible and "only" parts of them were damaged, not their whole being. It also seems to help them to learn to care for the hurt parts instead of being identified with them. Studies conclude that overall improvement in Type 1 and Type 2 trauma lies between approximately 50 to 85%.
What to Expect
The first session takes 1.5-2 hours and further session(s) around one hour. If you are seeing a psychotherapist or counsellor, you are advised to check with them about EMI. Usually, EMI can be undertaken alongside counselling or therapy, just as you might seek the support of acupuncture or herbalism. It is recommended, if you wish to try this neuro-therapy, to work with a supervised practitioner who has the relevant insurance and professional membership
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About Alex Proudfoot
I have a background in teaching bodywork with the Alexander Technique since 1987. Along with this I offer the Buteyko Technique for those with breathing difficulties since June 2006 and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy since December 2015.