EMDR’s roots are originally based in Nature. First what is EMDR? It stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing and by reputation known as a proven, effective therapy for trauma. Originating in the late 80’s by Francine Shapiro PhD, who observed the simple fact that she always felt better after a walk .. but.. as a scientist she took it to another level, dissecting the observation to find out exactly why!
On examination she realised that key to that, feeling-better-feeling lay in the eyes, in particular their movements. It was observed when the eye movement was reenacted clinically that there was a decrease in the experience of negative emotions. To be exact, there was a reduction in the anxiety or feeling felt around a situation. Not eliminating but desensitising the feeling – especially in relation to trauma – helping distance, fade and in time have less effect on the recipient’s life. When she experimented specific movements in the eyes Dr Shapiro found that their movements alone did not fully reduce the trauma or upset. With trial and ultimately success she added a cognitive component, resulting in the well regarded standard we now know as Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. EMDR is about stopping the power of the trigger with the consequent effect that occurs for many, getting lost in the trauma or upset. It’s about being able to move on.
As a Nature Therapist – indeed as anyone who goes for a walk in nature, be it a park or somewhere more rural, the simple feel good factor is something we know instinctively. But the modern world has stresses and strains and the people therein have histories that need a bit more than a simple walk to clear your head.
Going for a walk of course helps not just our health but also our mental wellbeing, however working with anxiety and specific traumas needs a little deeper work just as it does in a clinical setting. The main component with Natural EMDR is that you are layering all that there is outside into a session. This increases the effectiveness of Walk and Talk therapy as well as further empowering the client to be able to use their own walks in nature to support the reduction in the presenting trauma and or anxiety.
We know from understanding ancestral health that the body has a natural inclination to heal itself, like a wound forming a scab. Nature Sense Therapists have an understanding how our brain works and know that traumatic memories can get stuck in the limbic system – our reptilian brain. Not so much a healing centre but a reactive one, hence keeping your memory in a distressed state. When our sensory memory is engaged in a bilateral stimulation (as with Natural EMDR) our memory moves from flight or fight arousal to another part of the brain that’s able to deal with it. The emotional distress is moved to a place where control and ease in managing the emotion passes without triggering the past anxiety.
How it works with Nature Sense
We take the modern understanding and proven effectiveness of bilateral stimulation -outside, we take it home. Through walking, climbing, running – any movement, watching the birds, the clouds even. We have the modern understanding about eye movement and the how this actually works on issues aligned with the millennia of knowledge before the analysis proved it. Natural EMDR is also combined with further modern clinical acknowledgments of pre modern era wisdom such as forest bathing, breathing, image work. Integrating actual body movement along with parasympathetic breathing you have an effective foundation for desensitising and helping people to move on effectively, but as nature intended.
With Nature Sense we go back to the origin of EMDR, indeed long before. Stepping back into Nature to help you through your anxiety, through it’s origin – through movement outside. It’s gentler, it’s more congruent – it’s change is profound.
To understand more or book an appointment contact – Fiona, Nature sense Director here.
To train as a Natural EMDR therapist you must be a qualified therapist and have done the foundational Nature Sense training here.