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Unread May 19th, 2005, 07:36 PM
aod2002 aod2002 is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1
Question Just started EMDR therapy...

I just did my first EMDR session today and wanted to get some feedback on my experience.

two weeks ago I had a assessment with a new therapist that is trained in EMDR therapy from the EMDR institution. We went through some questions and all that to see how my coping skills were and what the bad memories were(which is a bad experience I had on a drug a year and a half ago that lead me to panic everyday and become severely depressed).

Today I went back for my first actual EMDR session. We started by talking about the memory and bringing the image and feelings associated with it in my head. Once I told her it was in my head making me feel anxious she swung her hand across my wave of vision as I followed it with my eyes. I noticed everytime she did this that I could still think about the thought but it didnt really have any impact on me. I was just neutral feeling, not happy or anxious. We kept going through the whole experience and when I would get stuck and disassociate(not DID or anything, just my mind blanking out and not being able to move forward)she would do more hand movements and I was actually able to talk about the whole experience almost from the start to the end and each time she did the hand movements I just felt like it nuetralized the anxiety but he thought was still in my head. She asked me how I felt on a scale of 1-10 of being anxious I told her 4-5 so we did went through more hand movements and reprocessing. My anxiety level did decrease. Finally at the end she asked me how realistic my positive image I chose to replace the negative one with felt(which was me being in control). I was like a 3-4 on a scale of 1-7 I believe, with one being completely true and 7 being completely false I think.

Ok that was my EMDR session basically. I have a few questions about it.
First of all, when I would try to think about the positive visualization I could see it but I couldn't feel any feelings/emotions attached to the positive visualization, yet I didn't feel bad. I was almost completely nuetral. I've noticed since I've developed panic attacks and such after that event that night that I haven't been able to feel what positive feels like. Are there any tips on how I can help with that?

The second part is about what happened after I left. So I left, and I felt really tired/relaxed basically, very neutral like before. I noticed I was a lot more calm tham usual without the nervous energy/irritability like usual. I even drove regular speeds on the street! I felt more calm and not as anxious. After I got home I took a nap because I only got 4 and a half hours of sleep the night before. I felt more at ease to goto sleep without feeling like I was going to loose control even though it was there a bit still. I fell alseep and eventually woke up an hour and a half later. Now there is where my main concern comes in. During the time I was sleeping I remember I was talking to my self in my mind on a completely unconscious level saying something whcih I cant really remember, but I remember after saying certain things I would then tell my self I was ok and that the EMDR had helped. This was all unconscious in the form of mind talk, faint images, and some sounds I think. This was very interesting to me. When I woke up completely I felt a little weird, not really anxious, just weird. So my question about this experience is, was that part of the EMDR experience? I have read about people having weird dreams and such after doing EMDR that is part of the reprocessing on an unconscious level and I am just trying to verify if that is what it was.

Finally, I would like to note a simplistic theory on how EMDR might work for me. The eye movements in the session seemed to do something to my memories like store them from an emotional part of my brain into a more logical part or something. I think the eye movements do resemble REM sleep in a way because it seems like it causes an automatic effect on the unconsious level and that is why I had this weird dream. I know if you can program something on an unconscious level it will work a lot faster than doing it over and over on the conscious mind alone. Is my theory correct in anyway? Thank you in advance, and I can't wait for my next session!
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Unread June 4th, 2005, 11:13 PM
littlethree littlethree is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Spokane, Washington
Posts: 21
Default Re: Just started EMDR therapy...

i'm not a therapist or you can take my words with a grain of salt, if you wish...i have been receiving EMDR for a little over a year now.

i haven't had many positive "sensations" except that sometimes i have felt new hope and a realization that possibly some of my traumas have not been my fault or that I'm not "bad" because of them.

there have been other emotions, including anger and distress, especially with new realizations that I have trouble working them out. especially anger. my anger is there, but I think it is waiting for "permission" to come out, and guidance on where and how to direct itself.

i have been fatigued after a few sessions. a couple I couldn't even walk after a session and I nearly fell over. especially in the beginning I'd have dreams about the EMDR process itself, as I was getting used to the "new" way of approaching my traumas. I've always been one to have very vivid and elaborate dreams, so I have never really felt a change. Later on my dreams evolved into more about my actual traumas and how they relate to my current life.

My therapist has told me often that the processing continues after session, in dreams and even when you are awake. So though I'm not a therapist, I have had many a dream and in general, I think, dreams are the mind working on things. Though I have no proof. Also I don't know the science behind the eye movement and me and my therapist don't use eye movements...we use taps. She does alternating taps on my knees. Hopefully, one of the moderators on this forum can also give you some advice on all your questions.

But I just wanted to give you some of my thoughts.
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Unread June 16th, 2005, 11:12 PM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
Forum Leader
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
Posts: 207
Default Re: Just started EMDR therapy...

Your story could be in a textbook about EMDR experience, with one exception which I'll get to in a minute.

It is very common for feelings to change, anxiety to decrease, and positive beliefs to become more true in EMDR. Its quite reliable for the most part. Also, its very normal for the processing to continue afterwards, for dreams to be more vivid or different some how. Its also common to notice different thoughts or internal dialogue afterwards. Its almost always adaptive. So everything you describe is normal.

For theories about the mechanism of action in EMDR, go to and read about research and theories.

The only part I don't quite understand is what you mean by the positive visualization has no good feeling with it. The only thoughts I have about it is this: we don't really expect a sense of euphoria, just that the positive cognition be felt as true.

Best wishes,
Sandra Paulsen PhD
Bainbridge Island WA
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