What happens during an EMDR session?
EMDR is not simply the use of eye movements. Rather it is a comprehensive therapeutic approach with principles, protocols and procedures with the goal of reducing distress in the shortest period of time. To begin with I will spend time getting to know your history and prepare you for the trauma treatment by doing some relaxation exercises with you, which could include ‘calm or pleasant place’ exercises, guided visualisation, deep muscle relaxation, breathing retraining etc. The next stage would be target a distressing memory. I will ask you to select an image that represents the distressing event. You will then be asked to think about negative and positive thoughts, your feelings, the amount of distress you feel and where you feel it in your body. I will then begin the eye movements while you hold the image in mind. After each set of eye movements your therapist will ask you what came to mind or what you noticed during the eye movements. During the eye movements you may experience the distressing event quite intensely to start with, but this distress generally reduces as the memory is processed with EMDR.
Is EMDR Hypnosis?
No. During the EMDR session, the client is awake and alert and in control at all times. The healing that takes place with EMDR is much faster than with hypnotherapy. Like hypnosis, EMDR seems to work with the unconscious mind, bringing into consciousness the repressed thoughts and feelings that must be experienced again in order to release their energetic hold on the person.