EMDR Therapy

I’ve made an appointment for EMDR therapy to process through my memories of my fathers accidental death last year.

Can anyone tell me about your experiences, and why this is setting off almost all of my Woo alarms?

The more I read the Wooier it seems, but the testimonials and reports I’ve read from people say it really works, and I’m ready to try anything at this point.

Mods, if this should be moved to IMHO please do so.

Just ran it through Wiki:

It stands for “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing”.
And is promoted as a means to treat PTSD arising from traumatic experiences.

I’d say this is woo.

Who is paying for this, and who is responsible for setting you up?

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The OP is also asking for personal experiences, which puts this in IMHO territory.

Moving thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.

I’ve had a few treatments of it because my therapist thought it would help with some anxiety I was dealing with. I know there is science behind it, but every time I had to look at those flashy lights, I couldn’t stop thinking “This is some bullshit!! WTF!!” My anxiety did clear up, but I don’t think it had anything to do with EMDR.

But I’m a fan of giving everything at least one try, including some “woo”. I don’t believe in woo, but I do know that sometimes “woo-y” things work for “non-wooy” reasons (like acupuncture). One thing that EMDR requires you to do is relax, and this is something I struggle with. I also have a hard time describing my thoughts as they occur, which is another thing that EMDR makes you do (or least that’s what my therapist had me do). So even though I can’t say that EMDR did anything beneficial for me, it wasn’t a TOTAL waste of time because I could practice those things I’m not good at. I still don’t like it though. I much prefer just talking and listening.

Remember you always have the power to tell a therapist “no”.

I love when people use the phrase ‘woo’ to describe anything remotely new, weird or controversial. If only EMDR were as effective as treatments with mainstream approval like SSRIs.

I had no luck with EMDR, but did incredibly well with brainspotting(which is an offshoot of EMDR). My traumatic experiences are not nearly as bad as they were before I started that therapy. Before brainspotting I did over a dozen EMDR sessions and noticed nothing, but everyone is different.

EMDR seems to be one of the few “acknowledged” therapies that are effective for PTSD. I think it is properly approved as a therapy in Australia. Anyway, even the lite form of practicing EMDF (as people use it in NLP) can be quite effective in alleviating traumatic experiences.

This is called the apex effect. If things get better using a “woo” therapy, then obviously the issue wasn’t as bad as previously thought.

Even if the “woo” therapies like EMDR, NLP, EFT, Hypnosis, etc look like they might be totally out there, please give them a chance, because you might surprise yourself about how effective they are actually are.

Source: NLP Trainer, EFT therapist, hypnotherapist

My grandmother had EMDR therapy after my grandfather died. She really wasn’t coping without him. She was much better after therapy.

Eh. I think the years of talk therapy (some CBT), combined with pharmocology and just plain ole time, were what did the trick for me. Not a couple of sessions of flashing lights. But it always feels great having my head shrunk on the internet, so go right ahead.

My therapist tried EFT with me too. I was a good sport about it for a couple of sessions, and then I finally told her it wasn’t doing a thing for me, I didn’t like that it wasn’t as evidence-based as other approaches, and I didn’t think it was appropriate for my set of issues. She respected my feelings and we never went back to that EFT stuff. I would have fired her if she given me a hard time about me asserting myself like this, especially since self-assertion has been one of the things I’ve learned from her.

I’ve read a lot about it, but have never been treated by anyone.

Apparently the rapid movement of the eyes back and forth does help the brain process things, and it’s related to the Rapid Eye Movement during dreaming that can help “work through” memories, etc.

It’s not woo; it’s neurologically based.

After some issues, my therapist was going to use EMDR for me, but I really thought it was a bit weird and didn’t seem like it would work. In the end I didn’t need it, but the fact that she recommended it made me wonder what was going on, as it sure doesn’t look like real science on the face of it.

I had it about 15 years ago, both for trauma in childhood and the trauma I was currently experiencing, learning that my infant had serious medical problems. I don’t really know how well it worked for the childhood stuff, although I did look at it more detached-ly and less emotionally afterwards, but the baby stuff was much better. I was completely torn up about it before we started, understandably- really couldn’t even talk about it without breaking down. After the first session of processing that particular subject, while it was still difficult, I was much better able to handle it emotionally. There were no flashing lights or anything- my therapist just had me tap my temples and she waved a pen back and forth for me to look at. You don’t really have anything to lose by trying it, but you could gain a lot of peace of mind.

Thanks everybody. I’m skeptical, but am going to follow through with the appointment, and give it a shot.

I’ll update after the session.

The problem with a lot of these therapies is that there are proposed, theoretical mechanisms of action, but no real proof that that’s what is actually happening. For example, with EMDR, is it the light and eye movements that help you move through the trauma, or is it simply talking about it, plus the passage of time? There is no real way to set up a control, and no way to eliminate these confounding variables.

From what I understand, I won’t be talking about the accident during the treatment. I’ll be replaying it in my head as the lights and eye movements occur. This is supposed to help the brain process the memories correctly.

One of the reasons I have for doing it is that it is not talk therapy, which I am horrible at, but an actual physical mechanism.

At least one neurologist disagrees.

What about the revolutionary notion that the brain varies quite a bit between people, and that this EMDR is more effective for some people because of that fact? Jesus. LOL

I had EMDR therapy many years ago, just one session, using hand taps rather than light. It absolutely worked for me, much to my surprise. I’ve found that talk therapy tends to re-traumatize with every telling, and has been pretty useless for PTSD.

Understanding theoretical mode of action is nice but sometimes something works for reasons other than why we initially thought. Just because our understanding of mechanism was wring did not mean it did not work …

True you cannot do a blinded control but you can compare it to other standard accepted approaches. And if it works as well or better then it you consider it as working. Or you consider all the other standard approaches to be woo. EMDR seems to workas well or better than other approaches for PTSD. The explanations given may or may not be woo (I think they are) but the efficacy seems real.

Proabably some do respond better to one approach than another.

Sorry not a personal experience as was requested.

I don’t know why I bother. Diehard skeptics are no more evidence-based than any other group of fundamentalists. If it weren’t for the dreamers, then nothing new would ever get discovered…but the more diehard the skeptic, the less likely they are to dream, and ask the “what if” questions that drive progress.

Well, like I said, I will give just about everything a try. Especially if I’m suffering.

But just as I don’t put any and every pill that someone hands me without finding out something about it first, I don’t let my therapist try stuff with me that I don’t know anything about. I can trust my therapist without being completely passive about the care I’m receiving. It’s my money, after all. I also want to know that my therapists knows more about something than what I’ve pulled off a Wiikipedia article. So I always ask questions.

There must be some buy-in from the patient for any treatment to work well. There are of few modalities of therapy that I’d never willing subject myself to because I know myself well enough to know they wouldn’t be my thing (like psychodynamic stuff). Doesn’t mean I don’t think it would work for someone else, though.

A good therapist should have a large enough tool box to accomodate a number of approaches.