By: VSC Client
I would say that before starting this treatment it is essential to have your mental health in control. In my case, it took a few months before I started the EMDR therapy since it was a priority to stabilize my depression.
EMDR was presented to me as the best alternative to approach my case. Before my therapist mentioned it, I had no idea what it was. After a quick search on the internet, I discovered that EMDR is a form of therapy that involves only the patient, his thoughts, and the therapist as a guide. My first thought was that maybe I would have to speak about the traumatizing experience openly, and that made me scared but that was not the case. Later on, I came to understand that it is more of an exercise of self-reflection. In the beginning, I was skeptical since I am very self-aware of my thoughts and I highly doubted that it would work for me.
The first therapy was an interesting experience but it made me feel like something was missing or that maybe I had done something wrong. I was incredibly alert of my thoughts as my therapist started on the first phase. It consisted of imagining three different things; first a container, something to retain your thoughts in the form of any physical object. Then, you have to imagine a safe place where you can mentally visit if you become overwhelmed; and lastly, a safe word in case you start feeling like you cannot handle the memory processing. Basically the therapist pitches a prompt and you have to envision the scenario as you listen to binaural music. When I finished my first session I felt a little concerned and afraid since I wasn’t able to feel what I was asked for, my brain wasn’t envisioning anything at all, just pitch black (because closing my eyes helped) and the sound of my thoughts.
By the time I got home, I realized the drive home was as important as the session itself as I had been able to finish ruminating on the memories. I started to think that maybe this was a result of the therapy but I was still unconvinced on the method after not being able to envision anything that I was prompted to imagine during the session. During the second EMDR session, things went a lot easier and I started to get the hang of it, the key was in letting go of the fear of judgment and insecurity. The best thing I did was be open with myself because, in reality, I was literally having a mental conversation with myself. The therapist gives you a prompt, you sit on it for a while, and then you report on how you feel. You can describe how you feel in any way you want, there is no specific way to express your thoughts. Once you become comfortable with the process is when your brain gets up to speed with the process until finally your thoughts are just come out like a stream. When you reach the comfort zone, there is no concern about doing anything wrong because you already know the ecosystem you have created and now you inhabit it within yourself, in your conscience.
As I progressed in the sessions I started unveiling the real reason why I was going to therapy. The more I recalled events, the more it made me afraid to come back to therapy. It is not an easy task to recall these memories, but trust me when I say that it is worth it to finish the treatment. I personally believe that it is healthier to cover a wound that has been opened because later on, it could get worse. The good thing about this therapy is that it is not going to get worse, it gets better and you actually start seeing the effects in each day that passes. In my case, by the third session, I was already noticing positive changes in my personal life, unconscious behavior, and thoughts.
I know that you are reading this from an outsider’s point of view of course. However, EMDR has proven to me that it is a very powerful healing device for traumatic experiences and I want to share my great experience with others. Most of the effects are developed by the subconscious and most of the results do not happen during the therapy. They happen later on when you are not focused on seeing the effects. The hardest part is the remembrance. Towards the end of the therapy, the perspective on the memories changed drastically for me. At the beginning of the treatment I felt like I was reliving the events and in some cases I had to visit the safe place I had established in the beginning. However, at the end of the treatment it felt like I was so distant from the memory that I could only describe it as seeing it on a screen that was far away from me, I felt disconnected from it. By that time my feelings, thoughts, and anxiety had been sorted. I felt the relief of the things that were controlling me subconsciously such as drastic humor changes, un-rational insecurities, fears, and most importantly the hidden sorrow that I dragged with me for so many years.
I am glad I concluded the process all the way through. I even waited some time to see if the effects would last or if it was something temporary. I can say with full satisfaction about this treatment that I would totally recommend giving EMDR a try. There are no implications, it is very simple and safe, there is no pressure to face remembrance since you work at your own pace, and most importantly it provides you with techniques that are applicable to all situations in life. This way of processing memories changed my life, and there is no exaggeration to what I just said, it did change me for good. It was truly beneficial to me and I am pretty sure that the first step to getting into it is all about encouragement. Trust me there is nothing to lose, from the moment you begin, things only get better. Even if you decide to stop because it does not convince you. However, go all the way through with the processing and you will get yourself an incredible life-changing experience.