EMDR Side Effects – As with anything and everything in life, there is always a side effect, but in the case of this particular psychotherapy, there is not much to write about the process.
According to EMDR Institute, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.
Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy, people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes.
EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the order is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.
- It has been noted that patients that underwent the treatment had distressing and unresolved memories, which may emerge occasionally. This distressing and unresolved memories is a healthy and natural part of the treatment process. Rather than calling it a “side effect,” this could be considered a part of the main effect, leading to desensitizing and reprocessing of the root cause of the memories.
- Some unexpected results may occur during or after therapy that was not part of the plan, reactions like having a high level of sensitivity or emotions or some physical sensations. By this time in the treatment process, much work was done to prepare you for this possibility. Plus, your therapist will help you handle whatever comes up during the session.
- Subsequent to the treatment session, the processing of incidents/material may continue, and other dreams, memories feelings, etc., may emerge. If this should become too much for you to handle on your own, you are welcome to call your therapist, who will help you.
After speaking with individual EMDR therapists, I was told that the stages involve taking the patient to his/her happy place before embarking on the treatment. It’s also been noted that some patients could not be treated with this reprocessing technique, which so far has a low percentage rate. That would not surprise me as I know everything in life has its pros and cons, which in turn has side effects. The journey to resolve PTSD and abusive memory is just beginning, and I can’t wait to see how well it will develop.