How Can You Prepare for EMDR?

Unfortunately, we cannot control our circumstances. Fortunately, however, what we can control is how we feel about the situation. Overcoming your trauma and taking back your power is a great way to change your viewpoint of a bad situation. 

One of the best ways to do this is by seeking out therapy. There are specifically tailored therapy practices to best overcome this trauma, such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. To learn more about this practice and how you can prepare for it, keep reading. 

What is EMDR?

As stated above, EMDR is a type of therapy best suited for those on the journey to overcome their trauma. This is done by rapid stimulation of the eyes through an external device. Yes, moving your eyes quickly can help you in the healing process! 

In this rapid eye movement, you will activate both halves of your brain. There are two benefits to activating both halves of your brain. First, this allows you to find areas of your brain best suited to store your trauma. Second, the external stimuli will offer a distraction and you may find it easier to discuss difficult emotional topics.

Think about how you may suggest taking a walk with someone when you have to have a difficult conversation. The distraction of walking is a welcome distraction. EMDR utilizes the same ideas. 

woman standing on a rock overlooking hills at sunsetBenefits of practicing EMDR

Although EMDR has historically been used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), EMDR is used for a variety of applications. Although it may not be the best route to take for every individual, EMDR can be very helpful when it comes to overcoming the following. 

  • Eating disorders
  • Anger disorders 
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Personality disorder

Know what to expect

Like traditional forms of talk therapy, EMDR will not “cure” you in one session. In fact, EMDR follows a very regimented schedule. Typically, you will meet with your therapist once or twice a week for six to twelve sessions. 

This allows you to do a deep dive into all the phases of EMDR. Although this seemingly strict scheduling may seem suffocating rather than helpful, the phases and sessions are created to achieve the maximum desired results in mind. 

Steps to take before your session

Practicing EMDR can be an intense experience, both mentally and physically. There are certain steps you should take to make your practice the easiest it can be for yourself, both before, during, and after. 

Try implementing the following before your first (or next, if you already practice!) EMDR session. 

  • Get in touch with your emotions: If you are someone who cannot discern which emotion you are feeling or shut down when you get too close to a touchy subject, then EMDR might not be right for you. Do not worry, though! There is certainly a practice out there that is the best pathway for you. 
  • Take strides for best eye care: While in an EMDR session, you will definitely be using your eyes a lot. This means you should take steps to prepare them for the sessions. If you typically wear contacts, consider swapping them out for glasses. Additionally, bring lubricating eye drops in case your eyes dry out.
  • Plan to rest afterward: An EMDR session can be emotionally draining. Sifting through painful memories or dredging up past traumas can make anyone absolutely exhausted. Try to avoid making plans after a session. Additionally, you will ideally come home to a clean, peaceful environment. 

If you are interested in pursuing EMDR Therapy, I recommend finding a counselor in your area who specializes in this form of therapy. I do specialize in this area of expertise and I am proud to serve the Fort Myers area. I would be honored to help you down the pathway to healing from your trauma. Feel free to contact me when you are ready.