What are the Dangers of EMDR Therapy?

dangers of EMDR therapy

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Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a relatively new treatment that has grown in popularity over the past few years. But what is it? How does it work? And are there any dangers of EMDR therapy?

In this blog post, we will explore these questions and more. We will take a look at how EMDR therapy works and who can benefit from it. We will also dispel some common misconceptions about EMDR therapy and talk about why people might think it is dangerous. If you are considering EMDR therapy, read on to see if this treatment option is right for you.

What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is a type of treatment that helps people process and heal from past trauma. It was first developed in the 1980s by Dr. Francine Shapiro and has since been used to help millions of people around the world.

EMDR therapy is usually done with a trained therapist who will guide you through the process. During EMDR therapy, you will be asked to think about the traumatic event or memory while moving your eyes back and forth. Eye movement is stimulated by either holding a device in each hand that sends rhythmic vibrations or by the therapist waving their fingers back and forth in front of you.

EMDR therapy is based on the belief that our brains are naturally able to heal from trauma, just like our bodies do. When we experience a traumatic event, it can be difficult for our brains to process what happened. This can lead to us feeling stuck or like we’re reliving the trauma over and over again.

EMDR therapy is thought to help “unstick” the stuck memories so our brains can process them and heal.

Research has shown that this eye movement can help process the trauma and reduce its negative emotions.

EMDR therapy has been proven to be an effective treatment for PTSD. It can also be helpful for other mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

What Are the Side Effects of EMDR Therapy?

Just like with any form of effective therapy, there can be some side effects of EMDR therapy. These side effects are usually mild and temporary, but understanding them can help you to be prepared for what to expect.

Feeling overwhelmed or emotional.

As we mentioned before, EMDR therapy can help to process stuck memories. This means you may feel overwhelmed or emotional as the memories return to you. However, your therapist will be there to help you through this and will provide support.

Headaches or fatigue.

You may also experience headaches or fatigue after EMDR therapy sessions. Again, these side effects are usually mild and will go away on their own. If they persist, be sure to talk to your therapist.

Physical reactions.

Some people may also experience physical reactions such as sweating, shaking, crying, muscle tension, or an increased heart rate. These are all normal reactions to trauma and will subside.

Having trouble sleeping.

It’s also common to have trouble sleeping after EMDR therapy. This is because the memories that are being processed can be emotionally intense. Your therapist will likely give you tips on managing this side effect.

New memories or feelings.

EMDR therapy may also bring up new memories or feelings you were not expecting. This is normal and to be expected. Your therapist will help you process these new memories and emotions in a safe and supportive environment.

Are There Any Dangers of EMDR Therapy?

Now that we’ve covered some potential side effects of EMDR therapy let’s dispel some common misconceptions about this treatment.

EMDR therapy is dangerous.

One of the most common misconceptions about EMDR therapy is that it is dangerous. This is because people mistakenly believe that the eye movement will cause them to relive the trauma. However, this is not the case! The eye movement is simply a way to help your brain process the trauma. Therefore, you will not relive the trauma during EMDR therapy.

It will make you feel worse.

Another common misconception about EMDR therapy is that it will make you feel worse before you feel better. This is also not true! EMDR therapy may be emotionally intense, but it is not meant to make you feel worse. The goal of EMDR therapy is to help you process the trauma and reduce the negative emotions associated with it.

EMDR is only for people with PTSD.

A third misconception is that EMDR therapy is only for people with PTSD. This is also not true. EMDR therapy can be helpful for people with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

It will plant memories that aren’t true.

A final misconception about EMDR therapy is that it will plant memories that aren’t true. This is not the case! EMDR therapy may help you remember things you had forgotten, but it will not plant false memories.

Who Can Benefit from EMDR Therapy?

There are many reasons why someone might want to try EMDR therapy.

Minimal talking is required for it to be effective.

One of the benefits of EMDR therapy is that minimal talking is required for it to be effective. There is no need to tell your story in detail or relive the trauma. This can be helpful for people who have a hard time talking about their trauma.

It can help you process your past.

EMDR therapy can also help you process your past and make peace with it. Often, people get stuck in their trauma and cannot move on. So, this can be helpful if you have unresolved trauma.

Reduces negative thoughts and feelings.

EMDR therapy can help you identify and challenge negative thoughts and feelings associated with the trauma. This can help you better understand yourself and your past to release the blame and shame you may feel around specific events in your life.

It can help you to cope with current stressors.

EMDR therapy can also help you to cope with current stressors. This can be helpful if you are struggling to manage your day-to-day emotions or are currently experiencing anxiety or depression.

You may see results quickly.

Compared to other treatment options, EMDR therapy may produce results more quickly. This is because it directly targets the root of the problem. Although the goal is not to move through the sessions as quickly as possible, some people may find relief from their symptoms sooner than expected.

Tips for Getting Started with EMDR Therapy

If you’re thinking about starting EMDR therapy, you should keep a few things in mind.

Find a qualified therapist.

The first step is to find a qualified therapist who has experience with EMDR therapy. This is important because you want to ensure you are working with someone who is properly trained.

Be prepared for EMDR therapy.

The next step is to be prepared for EMDR therapy. This means being honest with your therapist about your trauma and what you hope to gain from therapy. It also means being willing to do the work required to process the trauma.

EMDR therapy is not right for everyone.

EMDR therapy is not right for everyone. If you’re not ready to face your trauma, EMDR therapy may not be right for you. It would help if you also spoke with your therapist about any concerns you have before starting therapy.

Makin Wellness is here to help! If you’re interested in talking to a therapist about starting EMDR therapy, we can help. Our team of qualified therapists is experienced in helping people process their trauma and heal from the past. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Chuck

    I’ve not heard how EMDR addresses the wounded heart of never being lived unconditionally in childhood. For me this is the real source of my CPTSD. What say you?

    1. Stef

      It seems to help my friend with exactly this. Rough childhood with single mother, no money, no time, and no other adults to really be there. She’s slowly making progress.

  2. Suzume

    Hey Chuck.. If you were never loved unconditionally in childhood (as I was not also) what did happen? Emotional neglect? Abuse? Bullying? Control? Manipulation?
    These are the things it will address. I have just found an EMDR therapist and I begin sessions next week. Give it a try hey? Worth a shot.

  3. deen

    This is reasonable. EMDR has been nothing short of miraculous for me.I was able to obtain a feel for the treatment and gain confidence for the more difficult aspects. It’s like being reborn when you’re finally ready and able to face that agony, feel it entirely, and experience the release as it eventually becomes processed.

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