EMDR

My therapist wants to start EMDR (eye movement desensitisation reprocessing) therapy with me to work on my relational trauma.

I know a lot of people who’ve done EMDR for the more “typical” or “big-T” traumas, but I have never heard of its use for complex trauma before.

Does anyone have any experience of this? What was it like for you?

We talked it through today and bottom line is I’m frikkin terrified. I dissociated really badly just talking about some memories, events and even some simple practicalities relating to what EMDR entails.

I don’t like what’s happening to me one bit!

I guess that therapy isn’t meant to be likeable is it…

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16 thoughts on “EMDR

  1. Hello. I myself have never tried EMDR, but I know of people who have and have found it to be helpful. I think it is important to talk to your therapist (it sounds like they are the one who suggested it) about the pros and cons; potential effects and side effects. I would also get other opinions from other professionals in deciding whether the treatment is right for you. If you decide to go with it, make sure it’s with a professional that you really trust and can help you navigate through what you’re feeling during. The bottom line is that it is important to explore your options, that you are making your decision for you, and that your therapist is someone you trust. Hope that helps. Cheers.

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    • Thanks so much, I appreciate it. Yes my therapist is very specialised, I just really want to know what it’s actually LIKE, ya know? People’s personal experiences etc πŸ™‚ I’m scared! I will def do some more research like you have suggested, thanks so much x

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  2. Hiya, I’ve tried Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and EFT. I’ve never experienced EMDR but I know that EFT is used quite often to deal with trauma and involves tapping on certain parts of the body among other things. Sounds a bit bonkers but I’ve found it really helpful. DBT I found really helpful too. It’s a bit like CBT but especially geared towards treating BPD with mindfullness and a few other bits thrown in. Might be worth looking into some of the skills/techniques in DBT for a little extra help in managing the fear/anxiety maybe?

    Research sounds like a good idea so you know a bit more what to expect or ask your therapist to talk you through it. Maybe you could try making sure you have someone you trust to be around afterwards so you’re not on your own after all the scary memories have been dragged up πŸ™‚ Hugs. I hope it all goes well and is helpful. Let us know how you get on πŸ™‚ xx

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    • Ooh wow. My sister age 12 has found EFT helpful. I will ask my therapist about it. The whole touching thing freaks me out s little though!

      And yes that’s what I’m scared of as well – that I won’t be able to manage myself and my commitments (especially uni stuff, which is hectic and demanding) whilst doing EMDR.

      Thanks so much for your help!

      (Will reply to your other post now)

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      • Oh I should say-when I was at uni I really struggled but they had something called the Disability Resource Centre who were super helpful, liased with tutors etc. Your uni will probably have something similar. You might already know about it, but there’s also Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), which can help with funding for any special needs due to mental health problems-mine funded a mentor and a tutor who helped with time management around the therapy etc. I just thought I’d say cause I didn’t hear about them till my third year and wish I’d had the support sooner xox

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      • You are so thoughtful, I really appreciate it! Luckily I know about the resources at my uni, and am in touch with them. I have a mentor also, and my tutors are aware. In fact, today I had a breakdown to one of my favourite professors and she was incredibly supportive and patient, despite the fact I was so dissociated I was making absolutely no sense. She asked me to send her some articles about dissociation so that she can learn more about it – how sweet!
        I am so grateful for all the support. Including yours πŸ˜‰

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      • Oh really? That’s great. I always found BPD was a bit of a tricky one re. ppl understanding it at uni because of all the nasty stigma around it. I found having a mentor really helpful. If it’s any consolation I’ve done the whole “Oh God did I just cry in front of them?!” multiple times lol. xox

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      • Aw thanks, it’s good to relate.
        And yes I seem to get lucky because everyone at my uni (and my old one) has been incredibly supportive with me. I don’t even necessarily say it’s BPD, I find that being more descriptive is helpful, unless they specifically pry for a label or diagnosis πŸ˜‰

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    • So I find DBT great however not for the underlying trauma stuff, which is why my therapist wants to move onto the next level! DBT phase 1 is the behavioural stuff and I’m doing really well with that so she wants to start phase 2 which involves healing the trauma etc I think!
      Glad you find DBT helpful too πŸ™‚

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      • I think EFT is more geared towards trauma- I know they use it a lot with soldiers who’ve suffered PTSD. Re. the touching thing, my therapist has only ever actually tapped on me once. I nearly always do the tapping myself, on myself. I don’t know if that’s the norm but I think so. Some of the grounding skills might help with the memories and stuff that come up when you’re doing the EMDR. When I would get flashbacks etc. my therapist would make me describe the room and my surroundings in loads of detail so I would be “grounded” and remember where I was kinda thing. I know it’s easier said than done though. πŸ™‚ Love your posts, hope the EMDR is helpful xox

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      • That’s really helpful, thank you so much. I’m definitely going to talk to her about EFT and see if she has an opinion or any experience, as well as delving into the option of EMDR more as well.
        Take care and thank you! X

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      • Also, when you say trauma, do you mean PTSD type trauma or relational/ developmental trauma? I have both but the work my therapist wants to target for now is the latter – just wondering if you have experience of that. Thanks!

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      • PTSD type trauma, but I am working through some relational trauma with my therapist. To be honest, before I started EFT I hadn’t really identified the relational trauma, but looking into it now is helping me to understand & start to manage some of the triggers for feelings of abandonment etc that I didn’t really understand before. So a bit of both really. You’re welcome πŸ™‚ Anytime xox

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      • Oh okay that makes sense. I am worried about doing the PTSD type stuff because I always have panic attacks thinking about it. So I guess the relational stuff – which actually impacts my life more in ways I think – is a good place to start.
        Also I wonder if it’s possible to have panic attacks, body flashbacks and triggers without having PTSD. I feel like I can deal with my “big T” trauma until I am triggered. Once triggered I struggle immensely but if I avoid thinking about it, it doesn’t tend to affect me (I don’t randomly have flashbacks or nightmares etc). It’s like I have some but not all traits of PTSD. I feel like such an anomaly lol.

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