Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Emily

Case Study: EMDR Treatment – Emily

Emily underwent EMDR treatment over Zoom to treat her PTSD following a trauma in her job as a Police Officer. Here, Emily explains more about her EMDR treatment, and how it changed her crippling flashbacks, to simple memories. 

I was diagnosed with PTSD in April 2019, after being hit by a car at work (Police Officer) in November 2018 where I broke my right leg, requiring surgery. The car was driven by fleeing burglars, who intentionally ran me over. 
 
At its worst, my PTSD manifested itself in panic attacks, crippling flashbacks and hyper vigilance. I didn’t trust anyone and became increasingly paranoid that the ‘burglars’ would find me and hurt me again, or attack family. I took photos of cars parked outside my house as ‘evidence’ in case they had found me. I had awful night terrors where I would wake up screaming as I felt like I was back lying on the road again. I had an awful fear of masks/ balaclavas/ face coverings and would avoid seeing these on television or if I did would trigger a panic attack.
 
I had some CBT therapy to begin with, which did ‘unpick’ a few things and helped to process some of it however when I was reviewed again by the occupational health doctor it was obvious I was still struggling. They suggested 6 sessions or EMDR which due to covid I had over zoom. Honestly, I was very sceptical beforehand. It all sounded a bit ‘hippy’ and I wrongly thought of it like being hypnotised. However, by that point I was willing to try whatever was offered to me as I just wanted the ‘old Em’ back. 
 
The therapist was lovely and made me feel at ease – she was nice to talk to and actually by the final session I asked her if it would be okay just to chat rather than continue the therapy as I felt so much better. I had to follow her hand on screen, whilst thinking about the incident. Interestingly, she drew out some thoughts of previous traumatic jobs I had attended that I hadn’t processed properly too.
 
I can honestly say that EMDR helped change my crippling ‘flashbacks’ to memories, which are so much more manageable and feel so much less real. I feel like she has given me the skills to overcome situations that make me anxious such as returning to work. Covid times, with face coverings, could have been such a triggering nightmare had it not been for EMDR therapy.
 
I would suggest it to anyone who is suffering with PTSD, especially those experiencing very real flashbacks. I am definitely more of an anxious person than I was before my diagnosis, however I feel more confident in overcoming those feelings now and understand why they occur. 
 

Photo by alex starnes on Unsplash

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It is possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event occurred, which means it is never too late to seek help. For some, the first step may be watchful waiting, then exploring therapeutic options such as individual or group therapy – but the main treatment options in the UK are psychological treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

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