Sexual Trauma & Abuse Restorative Therapies

Advice & Support Line
01962 868 688

What is EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing a therapeutic intervention method which uses eye movements and other bilateral stimulations such as tapping to help trauma survivors unlock and process and finally overcome their traumatic experiences and recurring memories, moving them into the past where they belong. By doing this, the impact of trauma including flashbacks, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, feelings of shame and self-blame and poor mental health all start to diminish and previous overwhelming negative issues become resolved, no longer dominating the here and now.

Who are the EMDR therapy team?



Sarah joined START in December 2020, she has an MA in counselling and Psychotherapy, and is an accredited counsellor, with over 16 years counselling experience.

Sarah has counselled both adults and young people, working in schools, colleges, Wellbeing Centers and for the NHS.



Sara joined START in April 2021, and has been a counsellor since 2006. She has an Advanced Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling (Integrative).

She became an accredited counsellor with the BACP in 2015 and also became a qualified counselling supervisor in 2016. She is also a trained Hypnotherapist.

She works mainly with adults and young people and has worked a for many years in the field of rape and sexual abuse.


Does EMDR work for everyone?

While EMDR is well researched and is evidence based, but does not work for everyone, and not everyone is in the right place mentally to receive EMDR. Your EMDR therapist will discuss with you the options open to you if EMDR isn’t the right START support service.

How do I know if I am ready for EMDR?

You will have an initial Assessment with START for our services and if it is felt you might benefit from EMDR or you have indicated you want to hear more about EMDR then your assessment will be looked at and considered by the EMDR team who will contact you to discuss it further before starting any EMDR therapy.

After a EMDR session it is recommended that you leave up to 2 hours before engaging in any stressful or work related tasks to help cement the work undertaken in the session.

Why is EMDR especially useful when working with sexual abuse and what are trauma memories?

Take time to look at the useful videos at the end of these questions as they help explain how the brain functions both normally and when we are faced with traumatic events in our lives and what happens to the memories created during traumatic experiences including sexual abuse.

During traumatic events our brain uses its prime instinct for survival and turns on its “emergency response button” and employs a number of ways to combat the threat and fear that sexual assault and abuse causes. The body responds according to survival technique the brain chooses including a flight, freeze, flop, fight and befriend response to overcome the immediate danger. Once the immediate threat is ended the brain turns off its “emergency response button” and returns to its normal functioning.

When the brains emergency button is “pressed” our experiences and resulting memories are effectively made “offline” and are not processed as we process all other experiences so they become stuck and then float around looking for storage even after our brain has returned to its normal “online” processing.

EMDR aims to reprocess these bad memories and put them where they belong, in the past, so they no longer reoccur in the present as an ongoing experience that elicits an urgent trauma response. The memories remain, as all with all memories, but they have been dealt with and are stored away to be thought about and even talked about rationally as a bad and unwanted experience in the past.

How is EMDR different from other START therapies?

Our counselling team are all qualified and experienced trauma therapists but in addition our EMDR team are accredited counselling practitioners and have had additional specialist training in using EMDR techniques. They are also approved and registered as EMDR practitioners by the UK EMDR Association.

EMDR relies less on traditional talking therapy intervention although during the initial sessions of EMDR the therapists will take some time looking to talk to you about your history, and EMDR uses non-invasive hand movements or a EMDR light bar in the therapy sessions as part of the EMDR process.

How long are the sessions?

EMDR sessions are normally between 75 and 90 minutes long, and the number of sessions depends on the type of trauma involved. For recent events you can have up to a maximum of 18 weekly sessions, and for Childhood Sexual Abuse up to 36 weekly sessions. Everybody responds differently to EMDR and so the number of sessions you might need will very much depend on you and your therapist.

Can I access START's other counselling support if I find EMDR is not working for me?

Yes, you can talk with your EMDR therapist about how it is going and switch up to 8 sessions into EMDR to other START counselling support but sessions undertaken will be deducted from those you have already had with the EMDR team.

Where do the sessions take place?

Depending on the EMDR therapist, the sessions will take place across North and Central Hampshire, usually in and around the Basingstoke or Winchester areas.

Is there a cost?

No, the EMDR is provided by START under its funding contract, but as part of a charity we do ask that you consider a donation towards us continuing to develop our services for other victims and survivors of sexual abuse and trauma if you are able to do so.

Video Help

How EMDR Psychotherapy works in your brain

Animation to explain EMDR Therapy and Trauma to Adults

Call our Advice & Support Line on 01962 868 688 or 01962 864 433

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