I was asked to write a blog post on the most common questions asked about EMDR. Often times, people have not heard of this form of treatment, until someone they know has received it, or it was recommended to them by someone they know.The following questions are the ones I am most often asked.
1. Is EMDR hypnosis?
No, EMDR is not hypnosis. During an EMDR session you are in control, and fully aware and awake as the processing occurs. The alternating eye movements that are often used in EMDR may remind individuals of their idea of hypnosis, based on what they have seen on tv. If eye movements make you feel uncomfortable, let your clinician know, there are other options such as headphones or hand tappers that you can use.
2. How many sessions will I need to have?
It depends. This is a difficult question to answer, because we are all different. Generally, if it is a recent single traumatic event, it takes fewer sessions, but complex abuse throughout childhood often requires more sessions. Everyone process their distressing events differently, so it is very hard to determine an exact number.
3. Can I do EMDR, even though I don't think I have trauma?
Yes, many times individuals are not comfortable labeling their distressing events as traumas. They fear that it discounts some one else's trauma. We do not need to call the event trauma in order to process it with EMDR. Additionally, EMDR is used for more than trauma. We are now using EMDR for anxiety, Panic Disorders, Addiction, even athletes use it for sports performance.
4. Will EMDR make me remember events that I forgot about during childhood?
This is always a possibility. If this is a concern of yours, I encourage you to discuss it with the clinician that you are working with, and explain what your fears may be. As EMDR therapists, we are trained to be very careful with our words, and to not suggest or interpret images that come up for you during processing.
5. Can I do EMDR Online?
No. There are clinicians that do offer this, but it is not approved by EMDRIA, the professional organization that oversees training and certification. There are many things that can go wrong if there is not a clinician in the room. During an EMDR session, the therapist is not only processing the event with you, but watching your body language, respirations, and your ability to engage and interact. These are very difficult to monitor online.
These are just a few of the many questions I am asked on a regular basis. If you would like any clarification on any of my answers, or have a different question, please feel free to reach out to me. I love to discuss EMDR, I am passionate about it, and have seen many lives be healed by it!
If you or someone you know has experienced trauma, and are ready to begin treatment, please feel free to give me a call, and we can work together on finding the treatment option that works best for you.
Call to schedule an appointment at 615-982-5710
Ginger Poag, MSW, LCSW