Wednesday, 1 October 2014

EMDR - my experience

Over the past 4 months I’ve been having counselling sessions due to the fact that I’ve been involuntarily living in the past. The biggest trigger I have had to deal with has been mention of the abuser, which has often caught me unawares. For most of the year I have been on tenterhooks, wondering when the perpetrator’s name would be mentioned. Due to these common occurrences, I significantly lost confidence and had low self-esteem.
I’ve often wondered why the human body can heal itself from physical wounds whereas mental wounds are harder to heal. That’s why counselling of any kind is extremely beneficial and being in control of our mental health is very important. I am so grateful to my counsellor who suggested EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing). EMDR is quite amazing as it assists the natural healing ability of the body.
EMDR is based on eye movements similar to those during REM sleep. This is recreated by watching the therapist’s finger moving backwards and forwards, or in my case, the therapist tapping my right and left legs. After each session, I would report back on the memories, images or feelings that came up. After a number of sessions, the memories became more neutral and distant. I started to feel I was healing and regaining my confidence.
When I first started the therapy, I was in quite a state and traumatic memories were at the forefront of my mind. I had difficulty sleeping, relaxing and at times felt like I was going out of my mind. Over the weeks, random memories would sometimes crop up when I was at home and I experienced flashbacks. I also felt very tired and had a poor memory due to constant thoughts and memories that were going through my mind.
EMDR is amazing because it helps process raw memories in a natural way. Although it can be quite painful having to deal with disturbing thoughts, it does get easier. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to graphically talk about my past like one would in talking therapy. Instead the brain does the work for you and helps you to heal. Obviously this wouldn’t be possible without a trained therapist who is there to guide you along the way. I am truly grateful to my therapist for the help she gave me which enabled me to overcome the intrusive memories I was frequently experiencing.
I believe that EMDR doesn’t work for everyone and I was prepared for that eventuality. However, I had an optimistic outlook and went into it with an open mind. I think that because I believed in the therapy and the fact that it would work, it enabled my mind to help me as required. Now that I have got through another difficult period in my life, I feel ready and confident to move on in peace.


  1. As an EMDR Therapist, I was so moved by your sharing of how EMDR helped you heal from your past traumas. EMDR has truly been a godsend for many many people who have felt trapped, unable to "unhook" from the effects of their past traumas, sometimes even after years of traditional talk therapy.

    With EMDR, it has been such an exciting experience to be able to help so many people feel renewed, restored, able to move forward in their lives with calm and confidence. My hope is that many more will find out about EMDR and benefit from it as much as you have, Paola. Wishing you all the best.

  2. Thank you so much for your kind comments. EMDR is so beneficial and I have the utmost respect for you and other therapists who work in that field. It must be very rewarding when you help people move forward in their lives. I also hope that more people will find out about EMDR and will endeavour to reach out to survivors and tell them about my experience.

  3. Thanks for writing about EMDR. Since I started going to therapy in Feb my therapist has recommended EMDR but I been feeling so terrified of it for some reason, but it's nice to read that it worked for you.

  4. Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you would feel apprehensive, but I hope it works for you if you decide to give it a go.
    Best wishes, Paola