Childhood abuse survivors who have nightmares and flashbacks about their ordeals are to receive light treatment to help them recover.
The pioneering EMDR is likened to physiotherapy for the brain and it can help victims of sexual, physical and emotional abuse erase their awful memories when they focus on lights or buzzers.
Survivors often feel the abuse happened recently, even though it could have been decades before, and turn to drink or drugs or even self harm as they can’t cope or are unable to talk about their abuse.
Another treatment being used is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) which cures phobias and anxieties by gently tapping on specific points of the body’s energy pathways or meridian lines.
Falkirk sexual abuse support group, Open Secret, has welcomed the new technology. Chief executive Janine Rennie said: “Sometimes people use drugs and alcohol to help blot out memories, others may self harm. Many become permanently tired as they are frightened of falling asleep in case they have nightmares.
“We have found that clients who have undergone these therapies are able to move on to learning life skills and self development and care.”
NHS Forth Valley say the new treatment, funded by the Scottish Government as an alternative to traditional talking therapy, has already helped more than 50 people move on in life.
NHS Forth Valley head of behavioural psychotherapy Therese McGoldrick said: “When people have been victims of this type of abuse they often find it difficult to speak about what they have suffered.
“They literally become so emotional they can’t get their words out.”