My Experience with EMDR

What is EMDR? It stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing and studies have shown that it is more effective than traditional talk therapy. I can attest to that, as well.

I’ve been in talk therapy (and all sorts of therapy for that matter) and found that it helped in the moment. The results didn’t stick unless I went every single week and remembered what my therapist and I had talked through. EMDR takes another approach. It bypasses your conscious brain and literally reprocesses memories stored in your subconscious that are blocking you from living the life you want.

I don’t know the exact mechanics but I can tell you that it 100% works.

EMDR uses a variety of taps, lights and sounds that’s move from left to right causing the right hemisphere of your brain to speak to the left hemisphere of your brain resulting in a reprocessing of traumatic memories.

You start by assessing the trauma with your therapist. They will ask you a series of questions rating your trauma and the feelings associated with it. They’ll ask you where you feel it in your body and ask you to rate the physical sensation. Then they ask how true your negative statement is and they do the same for a positive statement you would like to believe. They review these answers with you at the end and reassess the numbers you had initially given.

Then they put away their little clipboard and get to it. EMDR can be administered in a number of ways. They may tap your knees, the tops of your hands, or wave their finger from side to side, all of which are used to activate both sides of your brain while you think of your traumatic memory. My therapist used a combination of buzzing sounds administered through headphones, small handheld buzzers and a green light that ran from left to right on a horizontal bar.

I have to tell you, it’s all a little bit weird at first. You awkwardly follow the light hoping you’re doing it right and hope you don’t look crazy. It doesn’t feel like anything is actually happening. Nothing substantial happens right away. My therapist told me that the processing effects of EMDR continues long after a session, and are quite subtle. There is also no wrong way of doing it which is very reassuring for anyone who has anxiety about getting it right.

I didn’t feel any different after my first session which left me feeling somewhat discouraged. But I had a standing appointment, so I powered through. My second session is when the real magic started happening. I started to realize how irrational the beliefs I had held onto for so long actually were. At one point I pulled the headphones off and looked at my therapist after having one such revelation, and said “I now see how bizarre that belief was. Why did i think that all these years?!” And she threw me one of those “yea, I know, girl…” looks.

Things start to unravel and fall into place. It’s like having your music on full blast and then suddenly turning the volume off so you can think.

After two more sessions, I began to feel more at ease within my own skin. I stopped comparing myself to every woman I saw. I stopped thinking that I would end up an unmarried spinster (at 31 and realizing you’ve been single for 8 years, it’s a very real possibility).

I wanted to not only get to the root of the issue of being perpetually single, but overcome it, and EMDR helped with just that. It’s extremely effective in that regard. After just 3 sessions, I started to respond to my external influences differently without even knowing it. The effects of EMDR last a lifetime which is the icing on top. You never need to revisit the trauma again. Once it’s reprocessed, you’re done.

How do I know it worked? Well, your girl ain’t single no more. How’s that for proof?! After 8 long, at times painful, years I now have a boo.

More on that in a separate post 😉.

EMDR was a last ditch effort for me and I’m so glad I took a chance on this obscure therapy. It takes what traditional talk therapy would do and fast tracks the hell out of it.

If you’ve thought about doing EMDR, or never considered it, I totally recommend taking a chance.


Shoes Over Booze