There is a wealth of scientific research supporting the effectiveness of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, particularly in the treatment of PTSD.
But what can you expect, if you are considering EMDR treatment?
The Good News about EMDR
There are some therapies that require out of session “’homework”. For example, you may be asked to keep diaries and practice new ways of thinking and managing your emotions. EMDR is not one of them. This can be a relief for some people!
In EMDR the brain does the out-of-session homework for you. Another way of saying it is that, in session, the EMDR process facilitates the brain’s ability to process information in a helpful/adaptive way, and this process naturally continues after the session. It’s often the case that people report new insights and changes in between sessions.
There are however, some ways that you can prepare for EMDR therapy.
During EMDR therapy it remains a priority of the therapist to ensure that the brain is having the chance to work in optimal conditions, so that memories can be processed and new information integrated. This is often called the “window of tolerance”: neither over-aroused (hyperarousal) nor under-aroused (hypoarousal).
Resources for Preparing for EMDR
YouTube has some excellent audio relaxation resources that can help you practice finding your “window of tolerance”. Find a style/voice/content that you find useful. Everyone is different … Here are some options:
- Progressive muscle relaxation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6053dnI4Rxg. This is a useful exercise when you feel tension in your body.
- Letting go of unhelpful thinking using breathing/meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vx8iUvfyCY. You can use this one when you notice you have a busy mind, an increase in “unhelpful” or “unpleasant” thoughts.
- A guided relaxation to beautiful forest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgSbF_xH9LU. There is a beach one called “Ocean Escape – with music”, by the same organisation (ASMR), which is a nice option too.
- Progressive muscle relaxation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGlWXiu4vLA. I have found that this psychologist “aggiementalhealth”, provides useful information and good exercises. This link provides an example of her work.
- Positive thinking meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0EQEiecSxs. This is a good option if you need a “lift”, it aims to fill you with feel-good endorphins and it strengthens positive self-beliefs.
If you would like to buy a CD, the following are ideal for EMDR therapy:
- Letting go of Stress. E Miller.
- Loving Kindness. S & O Levine.
- Soft Belly. S & O Levine.
Regular practice is the key with relaxation strategies. Make the time daily or every other day and you are likely to notice the results!
To find out more about EMDR therapy, visit my other webpage “What is EMDR?“, or please book an appointment to discuss your questions with me.
Author: Sarah Miller, B Sc Hons (Psych), M Sc, (Forensic Psych).
Brisbane Psychologist Sarah Miller has a special interest in trauma therapy, and is currently investigating the gender differences in trauma and harmful behaviours as part of her PhD. She is experienced in utilising a number of therapies – including EMDR – which are backed up by strong scientific support.
You can book Brisbane Psychologist Sarah Miller online, or call Vision Psychology Mt Gravatt on (07) 3088 5422.