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Unread July 5th, 2005, 11:30 PM
Carol Ann Rowland Carol Ann Rowland is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Ontario
Posts: 31
Default Headaches & EMDR


I have occasionally had clients experience headaches during EMDR sessions, and often this turns out to be related to ego states not feeling particularly comfortable with what is going on...generally I find that this is amenable to being resolved relatively quickly once addressed, and the headache is usually gone by the end of the session.

I have recently done an EMDR session with a client who I would suspect from the history might be somewhat dissociative. However the EMDR session we did processed relatively quickly and easily (just over an hour) for a first session with someone with complex trauma, the client felt great at the end of the session, etc...

Following the session - the day after - the person experienced a very severe migraine which is not typical for them.

I know that you can't comment on individual cases and so it may or may not apply to this situation but I was wondering if sometimes there is a delay in such a symptom occurring, if it was caused by ego states discomfort during the EMDR? The client felt the headache must have been related to the EMDR as it was not something she had experienced for many years.

I suppose I have certainly had clients experience symptoms like this after a talk therapy session when stuff had been stirred up, so it should not be particularly surprising....I guess I just have tended to find such a reaction occurs during EMDR rather than afterwards. I had expected it to notice some kind of ego state conflict during the session and felt it almost proceeded too smoothly and easily so to some extent the headache afterwards almost made sense to me...the work also was not felt by the client to have "held" particularly well as she was still experiencing difficulties in some of the associated behavioural and emotional concerns related to the issue that had been worked upon, although the SUDs did remain at a 0 when she "tuned into" the picture in a subsequent session.

I'm just wondering if this is something that other practitioners have noticed or can comment on.

Are there other reasons that someone may experience headaches during or after an EMDR session? I was using auditory BLS rather than eye movements.

Take care,

Carol Ann
Carol Ann Rowland, MSW, RSW
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