Last week I talked a little about what EMDR is ( I wanted to move on to answer some questions about what an EMDR session might look like.

At the start of the journey of therapy client’s might book in for a free 15 minute Zoom consultation. I think it’s really important for you to meet with a number of different clinicians, check them out, see what they have to offer, see if you are a good fit and whether on a gut level you would be able to work with them. Honestly do your work because often we know that therapy works much much better of you can form a great therapeutic relationship with your therapist.

A lot of people contact me because they know I have expertise in EMDR, I’m an EMDR Consultant and Facilitator so after training as a Clinical Psychologist, I have continued to develop my knowledge and skills in this model. I have either been recommended by someone they know or they have heard that EMDR may help them with your difficulties.

In the first few sessions of therapy, we will identify what the main problems are that you are having, your day to day difficulties. At this point we often don’t go into a huge amount of detail, we just need the outline, the skeleton of the experiences but we will explore how life has been for you, your key experiences, your key relationships. Together we will then develop a psychological formulation. This is a way to fit the pieces of the jigsaw together, to develop our theories as to why you might have these difficulties. Importantly, our work together will always be focused on what your goals are, what do you want to be different as a result of us working together?

Treatment sessions will often start with us exploring ways to help you self care, manage your emotions and tolerate distress, this is so important because often treatment on past trauma memories can be distressing, but there are many ways to work with this distress. I post a lot on my instagram feed about ways to self care and managing emotions. I enjoy these sessions and I will often join in with a relaxation exercise with you. I believe everyone benefits from breathing exercises. Here is a link to a youtube clip that I often use in my sessions

So it’s usually at least 3 sessions in before we actually start working on your trauma memory. But believe me the work we have done to lay the foundations to enable you to do the trauma focused work is extremely important.

Trauma processing sessions can be between 50 – 90 minutes depending on what we agree. We will start each session with a brief review. How are you doing? How has your week been? We will keep this brief as we really want to focus on the trauma memory. We will then activate the trauma memory by me asking what it makes you see, think and feel. We will then stimulate this memory by using the bilateral stimulation – alternating taps, sounds or eye movements at a fast pace from left to right. The metaphor we use often in EMDR is that you are on a train, looking out the window and just noticing the landscape as you pass through. You will be asked to just notice anything that’s there, this might be what you are thinking, what you are feeling or what is happening in the body, and you are asked to just let what happens happen.

After about 25 seconds we pause the bilateral stimulation and just quickly check in to make sure the train is still moving. I will say ‘what do you get now’ and I just need some brief headline information to establish that the train in still moving.

It’s impossible to predict how the processing will go, I often find it’s emotional, liberating, connecting, and often client’s will say to me ‘that was weird!!’ Your job is to go with the flow and let what happens happen. Sounds easy right? But it’s not, it’s really emotional and it’s hard work but it is transformational in some way. Client’s tell me they find that the memory loses it’s intensity, it’s emotion, it’s powerful position in their head.

Sound like something that could be helpful to you, book in a free 15 minute zoom call with me and we can think about whether it’s the right thing for you.