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Sara Briner Psychosexual Therapy Relationship Counselling in Exeter & Chudleigh, Devon


Sara is a EMDR practitioner and is an Accredited EMDRPractitioner Europe. Whilst working in sex therapy both for the NHS and privately or in general counselling and with employee assisted programmes, it became apparent that there was a lot of past traumatic events which were still impacting clients. Childhood sexual abuse, a medical procedure or giving birth may have been suppressed until something triggers the memories a touch, smell, a place, a new relationship, their child getting to the same age as they were, flashbacks or they have a feeling something happened but are not sure. The trauma response of flight, fright, freeze is how your body reacts to trauma. Clients can also get the same response from living in a domestic violent relationship or witnessing this in a family. Working with EMDR has transformed the way Sara works with these clients.

What is Emdr?

The mind can often heal itself naturally, in the same way as the body does. Much of this natural coping mechanism occurs during sleep, particularly during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Francine Shapiro developed Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) in 1987, utilising this natural process in order to successfully treat Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since then, EMDR has been used to effectively treat a wide range of mental health problems.

What happens when you are traumatised?

Most of the time your body routinely manages new information and experiences without you being aware of it. However, when something out of the ordinary occurs and you are traumatised by an overwhelming event (e.g. a car accident) or by being repeatedly subjected to distress (e.g. childhood neglect), your natural coping mechanism can become overloaded. This overloading can result in disturbing experiences remaining frozen in your brain or being"unprocessed". Such unprocessed memories and feelings are stored in the limbic system of your brain in a "raw" and emotional form, rather than in a verbal “story” mode. This limbic system maintains traumatic memories in an isolated
memory network that is associated with emotions and physical sensations, and which are disconnected from the brain’s cortex where we use language to store memories. The limbic system’s traumatic memories can be continually triggered when you experience events similar to the difficult experiences you have been through. Often the memory itself is long forgotten, but the painful feelings such as anxiety, panic, anger or despair are continually triggered in the present. Your ability to live in the present and learn from new experiences can therefore become inhibited. EMDR helps create the connections between your brain’s memory networks, enabling your brain to process the traumatic memory in a very natural way.

EMDR is recognised by Nice guidelines for the treatment of traumatic memories which are stored in the brain.

What happens in EMDR:

Sara will take a thorough history and medical history to make sure the treatment is suitable. Processing can continue after the session so you will be introduced to resources to use in-between sessions.

Sara is able to offer Emdr for small groups who have witnessed a recent traumatic event.

Sara is able to offer an GTEP as an intervention for someone who has had a one recent traumatic event and is left with some disturbance. This can be also be used following child birth.

Please note: Treatment is weekly. Therapy is face to face or on-line.

EMDR is also suitable for people who have:
Been in car accidents
Suffer from anxiety and phobias
Sexual abuse
Issues from childhood
Traumatic events in your life
EMDR may be incorporated into sex therapy

Group therapy.
Critical incidents.

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