EMDR - What was your first EMDR session experience and how did you handle the aftermath?


Today I had my first EMDR session and it was very confronting with everything that came to the surface. The things that were blocked and burried deep inside shocked me to the bone.

What was your first EMDR session experience and how did you handle the aftermath?

Looking forward to your feedback.


After sessions is always a bad time. Here, it's called therapy hangover. You are changing how you feel about memories (reprocessing) and that eats up brain power - sometimes a lot of it. As you take the pain away from one memory, it lets others process and the amnesia your mind created to seal off the trauma eases too, revealing more memories.
Understand your function will be reduced which means you don't have as far to go to get overwhelmed. You may not be able to do some things for a while. You may need to reduce your daily activities to minimal at times. It has been one of the most difficult things to deal with as at times you get unexpectedly overwhelmed by doing what seems to be simple things and that means a bad day tomorrow.

Four things that were key to me were:
-Monitor cognition. If it starts slipping then I am either in or about to be in trouble.
-Manage my stress cup The ptsd cup explanation
-Realizing that all stress is stress. ALL STRESS IS STRESS whether physical, mental, real, or imagined. It's why self care is VERY important. Eating, rest, exercise, showering, brushing your teeth, all that is stressful to your body if neglected.
-Grounding and core belief counters. Practice until you are like me and the dental assistant asks what you are saying and you realize you are doing your grounding without thinking about it.


Thanks for this feedback @Freddyt . The more I know the better. I feel ok and stable at the moment and the session was 9 hours ago. Pretty sure I will have nightmares again tonight.


If you are goin to have nightmares, get a plan in place to reduce or mitigate them, or to get back to sleep if you can.

....if not head over to the Social thread where you will likely find others who can't sleep either.


After my first few emdr sessions. I refused to do anymore. I didn't like the way it made me feel.

After several months things were still really shifty. I tried it again and stuck with it. I'm glad I did.


My first was, as it turned out, one of my t’s first and we were both stunned by the amount of stuff that flowed out. She later admitted she wasn’t ready and wouldn’t have dove into it with a new client so quickly ( first session). Being an hmo I was only allowed an hour and got streeted, still pretty out of it. I definitely shouldn’t have been anywhere but in an office with a t for as long as I needed.
But, after years of wasted misguided therapy and drugs with side effects but no effects, I had gotten a taste of something real that worked and sought it from other sources with good effect.


I think there would only be the once I regretted driving myself to and from therapy. Fortunately over time you get better at telling what backlash is coming from a session. That day I knew it was coming and it wasn't going to be a good day but when it hit me on the stairs on the way out of the office I knew I better crank the music and get home quick. Thank god the nice Bose system in the car plays loud enough to keep you in the present.
I just had my first EMDR session - it ended 10 minutes ago. It seems like from this thread that for many, a lot comes to the surface right away. But for me, it was a confusing and overwhelming experience. I think I'm too in my head, and struggled to answer the questions the EMDR therapist asked. Whenever the moving object stopped and it was time to answer "what are you feeling" or "where is your mind now" I'd have a mini-panic - like when you're in school and a teacher asks you a question in front of the class and you have no clue what the answer is.

One thing that did happen though - is my legs got numb and very cold. Super weird. I felt like I was sitting in an ice bath. Seems like in my case, the stuff that comes up isn't really memories or images/thoughts, but sensations.

My EMDR therapist says it's working, and I'm 100% going to stick with it - but I'm a tad skeptical that my brain and body would feel less tense about a bad memory from decades ago, after just 1 or 2 sessions.
"Confused" and "overwhelmed" are usually how I feel the first time I aim at a new target. Nothing comes to the surface right away. I'm usually able to organize my thoughts and feelings around the target sometime after the second session.


New Here
I'm desperate to go back to see my EMRD lady. I did quiet a few sessions, that were basically me making light of everything with nothing significant to report. I did a session later than usual one day, got into my car and caught a glimpse of the time and then it hit me. So now I know what I'm dealing with. The problem is we never got it fixed. I was a drunk at the time and my narcissistic ex cleverly steered me away from any more sessions. I'm now super sober and ready to get this sorted but totally skint following a not too pleasant divorce :(