EMDR therapy-has anyone tried this?

Hi, I have viewed this forum but never posted, so hello!I have a long history ( over 20 years) of panic disorders combined with OCD that began in my late teens ( I shan't go into details here) and have been on Paroxetine for over 15 years ( currently on 50mg) BUT I am still 'trapped' by my anxieties...I still get panic and OCD symptoms when confronted by certain normal everyday activities like going by public transport, flying, being 'trapped' in a situation . I want to try once again to sort this out as it affects my life in lots of ways.

I have had various therapies in the past, but have found a local person who does EMDR...as it's private, and quite expensive I just wondered if anyone else had tried this and if it worked? Thanks in advance!

4 Replies

  • Hi Cal

    Well done for posting first of all! You've made a connection and that's never an easy thing, so be proud of yourself.

    I suffer with anxiety and anorexia/bulimia and for me EMDR treatment was quite helpful. I won't promise it'll fix everything but my issues run very deep. I will say though going through the therapy made my experiences less painful to deal with on a daily basis. It all depends on what kind of trauma you're trying to deal with and how ready you are to let it go. The best piece of advice I can give you is check out your therapist, especially if it's expensive you want to know they're reputable and they're the right person for you. Talk to your doctor about the therapy and ask if there's any NHS alternative. I know waiting for the NHS to do anything can take a lifetime but just get some advice about what your options are.

    Good luck. I hope some of this helped

  • Hi I did the EMDR therapy until I had to stop because of work related scheduling issues.. Its a good therapy for us who have major amounts of stored trauma.... As you may already know... we who suffer from this... any event that brings on anxiety pulls all the trauma from our past into the present... and we feel all that trauma at once. which is overwhelming to the point of total shutdown. this happened to me 5 months ago so I am still in the early stages of recovery. But I think if you find a good therapist and stick with it iwill help you... good luck lets us now how you get along steve

  • I'm a psychologist who uses EMDR therapy as my primary psychotherapy treatment and I've also personally had EMDR therapy for anxiety, panic, grief, and "small t" trauma. As a client, EMDR worked extremely well and also really fast. As an EMDR therapist, and in my role as a facilitator who trains other therapists in EMDR therapy (certified by the EMDR International Association and trained by the EMDR Institute, both of which I strongly recommend in an EMDR therapist) I have used EMDR therapy successfully with panic disorders, PTSD, anxiety, depression, grief, body image, phobias, distressing memories, bad dreams, and many other problems. It's a very gentle method with no significant "down-side" so that in the hands of a professional EMDR therapist, there should be no freak-outs or worsening of day-to-day functioning. EMDR therapy has a ton of excellent research behind it validating its efficacy.

    One of the initial phases (Phase 2) in EMDR therapy involves preparing for memory processing or desensitization (memory processing or desensitization - phases 3-6 - is often what is referred to as "EMDR" which is actually an 8-phase method of psychotherapy). In this phase resources are "front-loaded" so that you have a "floor" or "container" to help with processing the really hard stuff, as well as creating strategies if you're triggered in everyday life. In Phase 2 you learn a lot of great coping strategies and self-soothing techniques which you can use during EMDR processing or anytime you feel the need.

    In phase 2 you learn how to access a "Safe or Calm Place" which you can use at ANY TIME during EMDR processing (or on your own) if it feels scary, or too emotional, too intense. One of the key assets of EMDR therapy is that YOU, the client, are in control NOW, even though you weren't in the past, during traumatic events. You NEVER need re-live an experience or go into great detail, ever! You NEVER need to go through the entire memory. YOU can decide to keep the lights (or the alternating sounds and/or tactile pulsars, or the waving hand, or any method of bilateral stimulation that feels okay) going, or stop them, whichever helps titrate — measure and adjust the balance or "dose" of the processing. During EMDR processing there are regular "breaks" and you can control when and how many but the therapist should be stopping the bilateral stimulation every 25-50 passes of the lights to ask you to take a deep breath and say just a bit of what you're noticing, anything different, any changes. The breaks help keep a "foot in the present" while you're processing the past. Again, and I can't say this enough, YOU ARE IN CHARGE so YOU can make the process tolerable. And your therapist should be experienced in the EMDR therapy techniques that help make it the gentlest and safest way to detoxify bad life experiences and build resources.

    Grounding exercises are essential. You can use some of the techniques in Dr. Shapiro's new book "Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR." Dr. Shapiro is the founder/creator of EMDR but all the proceeds from the book go to two charities: the EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program and the EMDR Research Foundation). The book is an easy read, helps you understand what's "pushing" your feelings and behavior, helps you connect the dots from past experiences to current life. Also gives lots of really helpful ways that are used during EMDR therapy to calm disturbing thoughts and feelings.

    It's not a cure-all therapy, however, it really is an extraordinary psychotherapy and its results last. In the hands of a really experienced EMDR therapist, it's the most gentle way of working through disturbing experiences.

  • Thank you for your replies- I think I will go ahead with this and give it a go, I have nothing to lose! Thank you for the insight Pattijane, the therapist I am thinking of going to ticks all the boxes and is registered.

    I have been through the NHS before, and they are unwilling to do anything except refer me to a 'telephone' line where some woman rang me every week and went through a list of things asking how I felt on a scale of 1-10...not what I needed!

    I will let you know how I get on.

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