After years of different forms of Therapy in January 2016 I decided to go for EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) for treatment. I had heard about EMDR many times, and being at my wits end I decided I had nothing to lose by trying it. Because I had Complex PTSD I was told it could take longer than expected due to various trauma’s. Results may vary per person and may require more or less sessions. EMDR therapy is to be done with a Licensed EMDR Therapist. For those that haven’t heard of EMDR let me give you some insight before I share my experiences.
What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a powerful new psychotherapy technique which has been very successful in helping people who suffer from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, post traumatic stress and many other emotional problems. Until recently, these conditions were difficult and time-consuming to treat. EMDR is considered a breakthrough therapy because of its simplicity and the fact that it can bring quick and lasting relief for most types of emotional distress.
**EMDR is the most effective and rapid method for healing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as shown by extensive scientific research studies.**
The EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation, right/left eye movement, or tactile stimulation, which repeatedly activates the opposite sides of the brain, releasing emotional experiences that are “trapped” in the nervous system. This assists the neurophysiological system, the basis of the mind/body connection, to free itself of blockages and reconnect itself. As troubling images and feelings are processed by the brain via the eye-movement patterns of EMDR, resolution of the issues and a more peaceful state are achieved. (Courtesy of http://www.emdr-therapy.com)
My EMDR Experience:
I went for my 1st EMDR session in January of 2016. I pictured the session as me just staring at a pencil while my eyes moved back and forth, but it wasn’t. I sat on the couch in my therapists office, she then gave me 2 plastic things (tappers) to hold in each hand, they had wires attached to a box which my therapist held. The equipment produced a back-and-forth stimulation through these small tappers I held in my hands. I was so excited but extremely nervous! The therapist put the tappers to a speed I was comfortable with. She then pulled out a list of cognition’s positive and negative. I went through and picked a cognition on the negative side “I am in danger” immediately that cognition stirred up a traumatic event. When I was about 6 years old lying on the couch crying from being in pain from hunger. My older brother frantically trying to find me something, anything to eat. He ended up finding some crumbs in a Dorito bag he picked out from the garbage, and feed them to me because I was too weak to move.
My therapist confirmed my tappers were at a comfortable soothing speed, and the session began. Across from the couch I was sitting on was a blank white wall. She had me look at the wall and recall that memory of being hungry on the couch and keep telling myself “I am in danger” I had to watch that event like I was watching it on a movie screen. At several times the therapist would turn off the tappers to check in with my on where I was feeling watching that event in my body. It began with a burning in the pit of my stomach, so I expressed that to her. Every time she stopped the tappers to check in with me I kept saying to her “I don’t know if I am doing this right” she assured me there is no wrong way to do EMDR. I continued watching the memory on the wall, and the memory started to shift into other times in my life that I felt in danger. I felt the the burning in my stomach move up during the course of the session which was about an hour. It moved up to my back, through my shoulder blades, up to my neck and into my throat as images kept shifting. The tappers went off and it was time to check in, I told my therapist I feel like a fog and cold breeze moving across my face by my nose, she told me I was about to reprocess that traumatic event and to keep going. Shortly after watching events as a movie my last image froze, and like flipping a book through pages where snapshots of the traumatic events related to the “I am in danger” cognition. Then I felt the cold breeze travel to my brain and then I felt a release. I had successfully reprocessed that event.
After My EMDR Session:
After completing my first EMDR session I felt a little bit dizzy. I took a minute to breath and my therapist gave me some ice to suck on so I could ground myself. It was an amazing experience to go through and reprocess something so traumatic to me. I know EMDR isn’t for everyone, but for me it worked amazing. Not everything will be fully resolved in one session, especially if you have Complex PTSD like myself. Something in clicked in my in only one session which can take several. I went home and had such a peace in my brain and I still do. Before I let that session my therapist had me take that traumatic event and put it in an imaginary “safe place”. That was 3 months ago, and I still feel mentally great. I have gone for more EMDR sessions but this was my first. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and I made great progress. EMDR can help in a matter of minutes, which I was shocked about. I accomplished more in that one hour session that I had in 4 years of talk therapy.
There are many treatment options available for PTSD like EMDR, Biofeedback, EFT Tapping, etc.. If something doesn’t work for you NEVER give up because something WILL! Stay Strong!