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Image / Editorial

Mel B is seeking EMDR therapy while she’s in rehab – but what is it?


by Grace McGettigan
10th Sep 2018
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Mel B recently confirmed she was entering rehab for alcohol and sex addiction, as well as seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. The mum-of-three has been struggling with her mental health since the breakdown of her marriage to Stephen Belafonte, whom she married in 2007.

The former Spice Girl and America’s Got Talent judge said she came to the decision while writing her autobiography. Speaking to the Sun on Sunday, Mel said, “It has been unbelievably traumatic reliving an emotionally abusive relationship and confronting so many massive issues in my life. I have made the decision to go into a proper therapy programme in the next few weeks.”

 

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A post shared by Scary Spice Mel b (@officialmelb) on

EMDR

Part of that therapy is eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), a form of psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro in the 1980s. It is designed to help people overcome PTSD; allowing them to reflect on traumatic memories without reliving the feelings of trauma itself.

According to the EMDR Institute, more than 84% of single-trauma victims (such as people involved in a car accident) no longer experience PTSD after just three 90-minute sessions.  However, depending on the experience they’ve been through, some people require more than 30 sessions.

During the treatment, a specialist will ask you to recall your traumatic incident. You will be asked to reflect on how you felt when the incident occurred. While this is happening, you must move your eyes from left to right (usually following the specialist’s finger or a series of flashing lights).

According to Irish counselling service My Mind, “EMDR is thought to imitate the psychological state we enter when in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Studies show that when we’re in REM sleep, we are able to make new associations between things very rapidly – EMDR taps into this high-speed processing mode that we all have, but often can’t access.” The therapy encourages the brain to look at a particular incident in a different way. The more sessions you go through, the less traumatic the experience becomes.

My Mind says there has been so much research on EMDR therapy that it is now recognised as an effective form of treatment for trauma by organisations such as the World Health Organisation and the American Psychiatric Association. “Over 100,000 clinicians throughout the world use the therapy and millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 25 years”.

Does it work?

Mel B says, “I don’t want to jinx it, but so far it’s really helping me,” adding, “I am working on being a better version of myself for my kids – whom I love more than life itself – and for all the people who have supported me.” We wish her the best of luck.

 

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A post shared by Scary Spice Mel b (@officialmelb) on

Photo: @OfficialMelB on Twitter

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