Innovative trauma therapy on offer to East Lancashire children

Dr Andrea Johnson-Renshaw works with a patient

Dr Andrea Johnson-Renshaw works with a patient

First published in News
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Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

TRAUMATIC experiences could be erased from the minds of East Lancashire children using an innovative therapy.

Clinical psychologists at the Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust have been trained to offer EMDR - which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

The technique is used to deliver therapy to help children who are experiencing emotional difficulties such as phobias, anxiety and chronic pain.

When a child is traumatised they can experience strong emotions which are thought to overwhelm the brain.

In some cases they can re-experience what they saw, heard, smelt, tasted or felt, which can be very intense.

EMDR, which was developed by an American clinical psychologist in the 1980s, works by alternating left-right stimulation of the brain with eye movements, sounds or taps which has been found to stimulate the frozen or blocked information processing system - helping the patient deal with painful memories.

Dr Andrea Johnson-Renshaw, consultant clinical psychologist in Children’s Psychological Services at Lancashire Care, said: “The brain is often unable to cope with these trapped memories, which results in traumatic memories being relived and having a negative effect on the persons lives and their abilities to function.

“EMDR therapy helps to restore normal ways of processing and dealing with problems. It means that memories of the event are no longer painful when they come to mind.”

Twelve of the Trust’s Clinical Psychologists in Children’s Psychological Services throughout Lancashire have been trained in EMDR thanks to Multi-professional Education and Training (MPET) funding.

The clinicians work with children who are looked after and those with learning disabilities as well as those up to 16 years old who are referred.

Gill Frame, network director for the children and families network at Lancashire Care said: “This is an exciting time for the service and a time where we have the opportunity to really revolutionise the care we provide to children and families referred to our services. This is a great example of our staff working to support the Trust’s vision to provide 21st Century health care to the people we serve.”

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