Learn More: EMDR
EMDR - Therapy's Heavy Artillery, a Tool to Unleash Trauma
Lately, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) has become something of a buzzword in the world of psychotherapy. Fellow therapists report many clients requesting it off the bat, even clients who aren't seeking treatment for extreme trauma. While it's encouraging to see so many individuals actively seeking solutions for their issues, this is not the way to go about it.
EMDR is a highly specialized tool, intended specifically for trauma-related disorders. It's not a catch-all solution or a trendy fix for any and all psychological concerns. Using EMDR for non-trauma-related issues is like using a sledgehammer for a delicate surgical operation - it's not just inappropriate, it's potentially damaging.
While stories of 'miraculous' recoveries may be compelling, remember that every person's psychological experience is unique. What works for one person may not work, or may even be harmful, for another. My aim as your therapist is to guide you through your unique journey with care, wisdom, and the appropriate therapeutic tools—not simply employing the therapy du jour. Trust in the process, and understand that shortcuts often lead to dead ends. Real healing takes time, patience, and the right approach tailored to your specific needs.
For clients who *are* seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress, it may eventually be a powerful and important tool, but it should never be the first step in your treatment.
Applying EMDR requires careful preparation for several reasons:
Stability: Done properly, EMDR assists patients in revisiting traumatic memories, a process that can be overwhelming even for those who have been preparing for it. For therapy newcomers or those lacking sufficient coping mechanisms, it can be shattering. It's crucial to establish emotional stability and safety before commencing EMDR.
Therapeutic Relationship: The intensity of EMDR therapy necessitates a solid, trusting relationship between the therapist and client, which should be nurtured in a controlled, safe space. Establishing this bond takes time, but it's an essential ingredient for successful therapy.
Coping Skills: Clients often need to develop and practice self-soothing and coping techniques before beginning EMDR. These skills help manage the intense emotions and memories EMDR might stir up.
Readiness: Not every client is prepared for the profound emotional work EMDR requires when they first start therapy. The therapist must assess a client's readiness for this type of therapy to prevent potential harm.
Starting EMDR prematurely carries risks. An abrupt dive into deep traumatic memory recall may trigger an emotional flood, potentially intensifying feelings of anxiety or distress rather than alleviating them.
Additionally, without a well-established therapeutic relationship, experiencing intense emotions can feel isolating and even damage the growing trust within our therapy sessions.
Lastly, without robust coping mechanisms, managing the strong emotions that EMDR can stir up might seem insurmountable, leading to increased stress and possible setbacks in therapy.
As your therapist, my commitment to you is to avoid these risks by ensuring your readiness—both emotionally and in terms of coping skills—before integrating EMDR into your therapy. Protecting and nurturing the trust, safety, and wellbeing within our therapeutic relationship is paramount on your path towards healing and growth.