What To Expect After EMDR Therapy
EMDR is a psychotherapy technique that helps patients overcome traumatic memories. The therapy involves using eye movements to stimulate the brain and facilitate emotional processing.
This treatment has become very popular over the last decade because it is effective at treating trauma-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex trauma.
It can also be used for other conditions, including depression, anxiety, phobias, eating disorders, and more.
How Does EMDR Work?
The goal of EMDR is to help you process your traumatic experiences by replaying them in your mind while simultaneously focusing on something else. This is done through a combination of both verbal and nonverbal cues.
For example, when you are having an intrusive thought about a past event, you will use your eyes to direct your attention away from the memory. You may then focus on a neutral object or think about a positive experience.
The therapist uses this method to help you gain control over your thoughts and feelings so that they don’t take over your life anymore.
Who Can Benefit From EMDR Therapy?
Anyone who has experienced significant trauma can benefit from EMDR therapy. However, it is most commonly used with people who have been exposed to multiple traumas.
These include victims of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, natural disasters, war, etc.
People with PTSD often suffer from flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, panic attacks, and/or hypervigilance. They may feel numb, detached, or emotionally shut down.
They may avoid certain situations, engage in self-destructive behaviors, or even attempt suicide.
People who have suffered from severe childhood trauma may struggle with low self-esteem, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, and/or depression.
Those who have experienced chronic pain or physical injuries may have difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
Those who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder may suffer from frequent mood swings, impulsive behavior, and unstable relationships.
Many individuals who have experienced early neglect or abuse may develop attachment issues.
Why Should I Choose EMDR Treatment?
There are several reasons why you should choose EMDR therapy for yourself. First, it is one of the few treatments proven to effectively treat trauma-related disorders.
Second, it is highly effective at helping you recover from trauma. Third, it is relatively easy to learn how to do. Fourth, it is safe and doesn’t involve any drugs or surgery. Finally, it takes less than an hour per session.
How Will I Feel After EMDR Treatment?
You may feel anxious before each session begins. However, once you begin the treatment, you will likely start feeling calmer and more relaxed.
During sessions, you may notice that your emotions are changing. For instance, if you were previously experiencing negative emotions, you might find yourself becoming angry or sad.
If you were feeling calm, you may suddenly become upset. The therapist will work with you to adjust your emotional state during the session.
After the session ends, you may feel tired. It is normal to feel exhausted after completing a therapy session.
Will My Trauma Be Removed During EMDR Therapy?
EMDR works by helping you process your traumatic memories. As such, it will not remove the trauma itself. However, it allows you to better cope with the trauma and prevent it from affecting your daily life.
Can EMDR Help Me With Other Problems?
EMDR is designed to be used as a standalone therapy. However, it can also be combined with other therapies to address additional problems.
For example, it can be used along with CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) to help you manage anxiety.
Are There Any Side Effects Associated With EMDR?
Like all forms of psychotherapy, there are some potential side effects associated with EMDR. In general, these include:
- Feeling faint
- Tingling sensations
- Muscle spasms
- Increased heart rate
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty breathing
- Changes in blood pressure
If you experience any of these symptoms, please tell your therapist immediately so they can make adjustments to ensure that you remain comfortable throughout the treatment.
How To Practice Self Care After EMDR
It is important to take care of yourself after receiving EMDR therapy. This includes eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, taking breaks when needed, and avoiding alcohol and drugs.
How Long Does EMDR Take?
The length of time required to complete EMDR varies depending on the individual. Typically, most people need between 10–20 sessions to fully recover.
Can I Have EMDR Treatment For Addiction?
Yes! EMDR has been shown to be very effective at treating addiction. In fact, many therapists use EMDR as part of their approach to treating substance abuse.
Do You Need A Referral From Another Therapist?
No. Many therapists offer EMDR without requiring referrals.
How Long Does A Therapist Need To Train In Order To Practice EMDR?
Therapists who have completed training in EMDR typically receive certification through the American EMDR Association. Certification requires about 1 year of study and practice.
What Conditions Can EMDR treat?
Anyone who has experienced trauma can benefit from EMDR. Although anyone can receive this form of therapy, it is typically recommended for those suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, phobias, OCD, and/or relationship issues.
To conclude, after experiencing trauma EMDR treatment can help to alleviate symptoms of PTSD or CPTSD.
After you have undertaken EMDR therapy you may feel like a new person. You may even feel like you’ve been given a second chance at life.
However EMDR therapy can feel like a grueling process as it brings up memories that you have been burying for a long time, therefore, it is important to seek out professional support while undergoing EMDR therapy and to surround yourself with a strong support network.
Author: Michelle Landeros, LMFT
Michelle Landeros is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families thrive.
Last updated: November 29, 2023