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When does EMDR start to work? What do I need to be doing outside of sessions to help?

Vieviele

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Hi lovely people - anyone experienced EMDR? What was it like? Intensives / 1 hr a week for how long?

I've now had one and (a half..?) intensives and am wondering when you start to feel better (mill dollar question!)?

For example, in my situation, I experience Anxiety and Depression and have insomnia. Night time is especially hard for me; I often have a racing heart, tightness in my chest and rapid thoughts and have issues getting to, and remaining, asleep. In the intensives I've done, I've processed trauma related to sexual abuse and childhood neglect. I'm wondering if / when anyone notices a difference in PTSD / Anxiety symptoms? By this I mean, tightness in chest, rapid pulse (~80 at rest), racing thoughts, insomnia? Do these decrease with time? What helps/ hinders? I'm just worred it's not working :(

Basically, I'm wondering what i need to be doing outside of the sessions - resting I guess?
 
Outside of your sessions, your brain is still working on processing, so the things you need to do the most is to rest and to do nice things for yourself.

As to when it will start to work, that's an unknown. It took a month or so for it to kick in for me. Others have reported immediately feeling better to it not working at all.
 
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I've now had one and (a half..?) intensives and am wondering when you start to feel better (mill dollar question!)?
The more you have to process, the more sessions you’re going to need. EMDR can be a therapy that people need to do for long periods of time if they have a lot to process.

For complex trauma, that’s going to be a lot of sessions, because there’s a lot to process.

There’s no quick fix for complex trauma, unfortunately. But there are other evidence based treatments for depression, anxiety and ptsd that can be used as an adjunct to EMDR.
 
So far, I've found some EMDR sessions to be intense and stuff resolves really quickly... whereas other sessions it feels like maybe it's not working that day, or not much is happening. I'm not sure what that's about. Maybe some days my brain is more receptive, or maybe some topics are easier for my brain to process than others...?

Edit to add: Have you tried the different modalities? My T has this horizontal light thingee where the LED light moves across it, back and forth, he's got the audio-headphones version and then those buzzy things you can hold in your hands. For me, the light thingee works, but the audio/ hand buzzy things don't seem to work at all. It might be worth experimenting to see if one of the other options is a better fit for you?
 
It works when it works. Hows that for an awful answer?! 😁

It really depends on the type and number of traumas you are working with. People with one trauma (like a car crash) can be done in 1 to 12 sessions. People with bunches of trauma may take several years if they need to work each trauma as it's own thing.

So ya, it's really subjective

But when it works all those things that were just tearing you up, making you anxious, can't sleep, etc? Become just sad things from the past, so you stop having the physical reactions to them.

There really isn't anything you can do outside to speed it up. Think of it as putting bread in the oven. You knead the crap out of it, then you let it bake
You can't make it bake any faster - and if you turn up the heat it will burn.
So you have to wait.

Pretty much the same thing with emdr -- your brain is baking between sessions.
 
Pretty much the same thing with emdr -- your brain is baking between sessions.
I’m sure you meant to say frying. Baking implies a slow process with tasty bits at the end.

I’d ask your therapist for a time frame since they’re more aware of your set of circumstances.

I mean it works but if you’re looking for a quick fix…there isn’t one.
 
Hi lovely people - anyone experienced EMDR? What was it like? Intensives / 1 hr a week for how long?

I've now had one and (a half..?) intensives and am wondering when you start to feel better (mill dollar question!)?

For example, in my situation, I experience Anxiety and Depression and have insomnia. Night time is especially hard for me; I often have a racing heart, tightness in my chest and rapid thoughts and have issues getting to, and remaining, asleep. In the intensives I've done, I've processed trauma related to sexual abuse and childhood neglect. I'm wondering if / when anyone notices a difference in PTSD / Anxiety symptoms? By this I mean, tightness in chest, rapid pulse (~80 at rest), racing thoughts, insomnia? Do these decrease with time? What helps/ hinders? I'm just worred it's not working :(

Basically, I'm wondering what i need to be doing outside of the sessions - resting I guess?
Soon after EMDR my flashbacks, triggers, nightmares, and hypervigilance melted away and I began to experience more calm and peace however I am not the same person before my trauma. I have major trust issues. And, I no longer am the social person and I isolate a lot since unfortunately I can still remember my trauma. I hope EMDR helps.
 
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