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Psychotherapy: EMDR, a fad?

The psychological effects of the health crisis continue to set in. Two years after the first confinement, almost a quarter of French people are still more anxious than before the Covid epidemic, according to a study carried out by Doctolib in 2021. Consultations with city psychologists have increased by 27% in one year. And three-quarters of psychologists surveyed confirm that their workload has increased.

In this context, the EMDR method continues to progress. EMDR is the acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessingthat is, the desensitization and reprocessing of information through eye movements. “I see the difference compared to before the pandemic, people need follow-up, they are not well at all, confirms Sylvie Clarac, clinical psychologist and EMDR practitioner. My diary is full for several months. »

This psychotherapy technique, invented in 1987 by Françoise Shapiro, makes it possible to work on traumatic events. Recognized since 2007 by the High Authority for Health, EMDR is even recommended by the institution for the treatment of post-traumatic stress. In 2013, the WHO recognized this new psychotherapy. Then Inserm, in 2015.

A method suitable for all?

Increasingly publicized, EMDR is becoming popular. But there is no question of talking about a fad, according to Léonard Ametepe, president of the EMDR France association: “It started thirty-five years ago. Before, France had an approach solely focused on psychoanalysis. Today, EMDR takes its place in the field of psychotherapy. »“EMDR is very effective for simple traumas, such as car accidents or burglaries”, explains Sylvie Clarac.

→ READ. Are there any contraindications to EMDR?

Is this practice suitable for everyone? “If the protocol is done poorly, EMDR can be violent, so it’s something to be taken with care,” warns the psychologist.The patient must be anchored in the present. If he is too traumatized, when he recounts the event, doing EMDR could retraumatize himshe adds. Sometimes you have to wait six months or even a year before doing the very first EMDR session. So, we go through other techniques or a more traditional follow-up until he is ready. »

Choosing the right practitioner

It is therefore necessary to be careful in choosing the right practitioner. Only three initial training courses provided in France are recognized by EMDR Europe and enable the holder to obtain the title of “Europe EMDR practitioner”. They include an initial training of 49 hours of theory and practice, as well as 20 hours of practical supervision. And to have their EMDR diploma renewed, the practitioner must collect 50 continuing education credits in five years (1).

Only psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists can also benefit from this training. “It can be dangerous for users if the practitioners are not health professionalswarns Leonard Ametepe. However, in a few years we have seen an anthology of people who have trained in EMDR…”

This is also confirmed by Antoine Pelissolo, head of the psychiatry department at the Henri-Mondor hospital in Créteil. “Like all fashionable methods, there are more and more offers and demands, nuance the doctor. So there is a risk that it will be badly done, that the therapist does not have sufficient experience or that he is not well trained..»


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