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-   -   When EMDR Goes Wrong--A Patient's Perspective (http://www.behavior.net/bolforums/showthread.php?t=3292)

Jettrav November 27th, 2010 12:31 PM

When EMDR Goes Wrong--A Patient's Perspective
 
When I began EMDR, I had some relationship issues that I was talking to my therapist about, and I thought the therapy was going well. I was feeling stress but not experiencing any serious trauma. My therapist felt EMDR would help clear things up rather quickly, and I agreed.

But things did not go well. Quite frankly I wish I had never heard of EMDR.

Undergoing this therapy I re-experienced painful memories from many years in the past. This led to a period of sleepless nights (something that almost never happens with me) as I endured a parade of terrible flashbacks. These negative experiences did not occur just during sessions, but relentlessly throughout a number of months in which I felt I was constantly engaged in an ongoing medley of horrible moments of reignited trauma from all those years ago.

I so much wanted to believe in EMDR, and I gave it my very best effort over eight or 10 sessions, but ultimately I can't begin to describe how incredibly painful that time of my life was.

The worse I felt the more progress my therapist said I was making. I didn't start feeling better again 'til I said enough is enough and quit EMDR and therapy altogether.

I seem to be having much more success by hanging out with friends, playing music, riding my bike, trying to make a positive difference doing decent work, eating healthy and focussing on the positive achievable good thing in life.

I know some people swear by EMDR and I've read enough to know that it can be a remarkably successful treatment option.

I'm writing this, however, to remind therapists that there is no one-size-fits all therapy, that no therapy is a magic bullet. Most of all, I'm writing all therapist to take a full history before starting EMDR with a patient. There may be some long dormant issues that you need to know about. I don't want another person to go through with EMDR what I went through.

Sandra Paulsen November 28th, 2010 11:48 AM

Re: When EMDR Goes Wrong--A Patient's Perspective
 
Thank you for your personal and enlightening post. Although clearly I have no where near enough information to know what happened in your particular case, this is a time for me to say what I always say here. There are important assessment and screening steps which must be undertaken properly before using EMDR with an individual with a complex trauma history. Those screenings must be done with EVERY single client whether they seem necessary or not. The story we have heard here closely resembles what can happen if those steps are not taken. When there is a complex trauma history, modifications to the EMDR procedure must be made for its safe use.


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