how does EMDR work?


I know that it works. But what are the real, physical things that are happening during and after treatment?

In: 2

I’ve been through emdr. It’s a in-depth process to reprocess trauma. In my experience it’s similar to meditation but with a guide who is there in case you have a wild trauma response. It happens when people have been through horrors. But once you face things you realize memories/feelings don’t remain the same intensity and then you remember how to let it go. Best way I could explain. Hope it helps

So, I had my first experience with it recently. My therapist had a small device, like the size of a phone. There are two wires hooked up to it. The wires have these oval shaped devices on the end of the wires. You hold one in each hand. When she turns the device on, the oval hand held devices vibrate in one hand, stop, then vibrate in the other hand over and over. The way she explained it is that it mimics rem sleep while your body is processing the events of the day. I sat with these small things in my hands and described a reoccurring nightmare. When I was done, she turned it off and had me create an alternative ending of my dream. Then she turned the machine back on and had me repeat my dream with the new ending. Then I yawned which is apparently a sign that my brain accepted this. I haven’t had the dream since!

Not really sure, but my one experience with it was bad bad bad, which I take responsibility for – because the *thing*/memory came up and instead of telling my psych, I panicked, shut down and pretended I didn’t see/feel it and also pretended I was A-OK! Thanks, bye!!

Later the day I had a major panic attack after it opened up another abuse memory relative to it, and not long after drove off the road because I was disassociating. When I got home I went into full PTSD trigger mode (pre-diagnosis) and was in hysterics & absolutely convinced people were watching me and someone was going to come through my windows and get me.

Ended up having an after hours call with my psych and went to stay with a friend for a couple of nights, but the whole episode lasted about two weeks and scared TF out of me.

I’m not saying EMDR is bad, just saying I think it’s VERY important that if something comes up, you gotta let it out. It felt like I got stuck in the trauma response rather than moving through it. I decided I didn’t have the capacity to handle stuff like that coming up at the time and that was about 3 years ago and haven’t gotten back to it yet, but open to trying again one day.

EDIT: I know sometimes we don’t seek therapy until we REALLY need it, but actually doing some stuff, like this, can be good to do when you’re in a better/stronger place in life andore able to emotionally handle what might come up.

My therapist explained it like being similar to REM sleep, that it helps the brain sort through and categorize what it’s holding. She didn’t go into detail beyond that my eyes would move like in sleep and it would help my brain do therapy faster.

The first version of EMDR we tried was moving the eyes back and forth following a finger. We switched to the vibrating paddles and closed eyes, which I found less distracting and less tiring.