Have You Ever Tried EMDR?

Thursday, February 23, 2023

I've been seeing my therapist for coming up on a year now, and I really like her. It's never been too difficult for me to get into talk therapy because, well, I like talking, and I think I'm fairly introspective. Just like I find myself and sort through my issues in writing, so too do I find it helpful to be able to say my thoughts out loud to another human who can help me process them without judgment.

When she asked if I'd be interested in EMDR therapy, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, I was immediately game. It doesn't involve much talking at all, at least not in the sense of traditional psychotherapy, but it's super fascinating, as far as I can tell.

First developed to help people who have experienced trauma, EMDR is now used to treat anxiety, depression, phobias, and more. The goal is to help you process traumatic memories or thoughts in a more adaptive way -- to get at memories that are "stuck" in the wrong part of the brain and causing distress and symptoms like fear and sadness. 

EMDR can help your brain to reprocess these memories in a way that reduces the negative emotions associated with them. To do so, your therapist asks you to focus on a specific event or memory while they guide you through a series of eye movements, sounds or taps that stimulate both sides of your brain. Scientists think that this bilateral stimulation can rewire and reorganize the way that your brain stores and processes memories.

So we started today. It was weird to not talk very much, to just answer these very specific, pointed questions and have my therapist take careful notes instead of responding. And for all of the uncomfortable things I've discussed in therapy, it feels deeply unsettling to start in on the really uncomfortable stuff, to jump right into all of your worst and most vulnerable feelings.

I asked that we start on my relationship with food, as I've trying to build a healthier lifestyle that we keep me alive and well for the long term. I've been working hard to implement better habits and make better food choices, but it's very, very hard to do on my own. I'm hoping that EMDR can help me truly reprocess my relationship with food in a healthy and sustainable way. 

We're only half a session in, so I don't have much to report, and I won't necessarily share about this again in the future. But I'm excited about it, and I'm interested in hearing from anyone who's tried EMDR in the past, to whatever extent you're comfortable sharing. 

Have you ever tried EMDR? How did it go? What can I expect?

1 comment:

  1. I have not heard about it, but it sounds interesting and worth a shot. I hope it works for you.


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