What to Expect in an EMDR Session…

Sometimes I use EMDR, sometimes ‘Parts’ work. Sometimes a combination of the two. I will determine which approach is best for resolving your symptoms. If we use EMDR, here is an overview of what to expect. 

What happens in a session?

I will guide you through the process, asking questions to direct you to the disturbing material, and then will apply the BLS.  If you get stuck, I will help you get back in the flow.  Sometimes processing a painful memory will bring up powerful and unpleasant feelings or body sensations.  This is a normal part of the process, and such feelings usually pass within a few minutes.  By the end of the session, the picture associated with the memory has often faded or changed, and the feelings you felt at the beginning will have lost much of their power.  Often clients have a deep sense of well-being and empowerment come over them as an old memory is reprocessed.

Some clients decide they don’t like EMDR or they find that it doesn’t work for them as it has been described, either of which, is perfectly fine as well. For many clients, we find that working with their parts is a better and more effective way to process their painful material, and we may not use EMDR at all.

What happens after the session?  

You may continue to process the material covered in the session for hours or days afterwards.  You may have vivid dreams, new insights, or have new memories surface with great clarity. Most clients find this interesting and exciting.  Making note of these things between sessions will help me know how to proceed. If you feel very upset or become depressed, call me.

I do encourage clients to schedule a bit of free time after their first couple of sessions, until they know what to expect.  After your first session, allowing a few minutes to walk around the block before you drive your car is a good idea. Over time, most clients go right back to their activities directly after their session without a problem. Some report feeling tired after processing, and most report sleeping soundly the night following their EMDR session as an added bonus.

 

Can I do EMDR if I am Pregnant?

With care, yes!

I  have done a lot of EMDR processing with women who are pregnant.  Some moms worry about how trauma processing will effect their baby’s feelings in utero, but I have found there are ways to work with this worry, and that the benefits of the treatment for mother and baby in the long run, make it worth doing.

In one case, I suggested the client speak to her doctor about the process, and the doctor said she felt it was safe for mother and baby.  In another case, the client chose to wait until the second trimester, when any worry of miscarriage had passed.  In still another case, I continued to process the expectant mother’s molest memories during her pregnancy, because we felt that such treatment was important for the infant’s felt-sense of wellbeing in the long term. I have processed many traumatic first birth experiences, as well as fears of doctors and medical procedures all during pregnancy–which have improved the mother’s physical and emotional health during the remaining months of pregnancy.

If you do have trauma work to do while you are pregnant, I invite you to connect with your baby at the beginning of each session, and to tell them, “This is about me, not about you, this is the healing I have to do to be a good mommy.” And/or, I invite you to surround your baby with light and love, both before and after the processing. This has helped many moms feel comfortable that they have taken care of their baby’s feelings, while getting the care they need.