More threads by lallieth


From what I have researched,EMDR works like this?

The therapist works gently with the client and asks him/her to revisit the traumatic moment or incident, recalling feelings surrounding the experience, as well as any negative thoughts, feelings and memories. The therapist then holds her fingers about eighteen inches from the clients face and begins to move them back and forth like a windshield wiper.

The client tracks the movements as if watching ping pong. The more intensely the client focuses on the memory, the easier it becomes for the memory to come to life. As quick and vibrant images arise during the therapy session, they are processed by the eye movements, resulting in painful feelings being exchanged for more peaceful, loving and resolved feelings.
Isn't the first part of the therapy,more like CBT? which is based in facing the fear head on?

Honestly,if a therapist,during the recollection of a traumatic event,where to wave her/his fingers back and forth in front of my eyes,I would probably react in a negative manner.

Has this therapy been proven? is it hokey?


I'd get agitated, too.
I've read it's not good for Dissociation, anyways.
When I was a kid,my brother use to do something similiar with his fingers and it was SO annoying,so a therapist doing the same thing,would dredge up those " I want to punch him out" feelings.


I don't know if it's hokey or not. My therapist wanted to do it with me but it sounded hokey to me (those were my exact words too!) so I said no. There are some people that are very convinced it works wonders and others like myself that just aren't convinced.

If you're thinking of trying it I would say that at minimum make sure the therapist is trained in EMDR and is someone you trust and feel comfortable with. Keep your expectations low and discuss your uncertainties ahead of time. I read somewhere that it doesn't work if you don't believe in it, so it makes me wonder if it's more of mind over matter.

I think there are so many new "therapies" out there that it really is buyer beware.


I have tried EMDR twice with two different therapists. One was very well trained and the other was not (however I did not know she wasn't trained until after...big mistake).

While I don't believe that it is hokey and I do believe that it works well for some people, it did not work well for me personally. I did give it an honest try however my concentration was just not good enough at the time to benefit from it. I was also not dealing with the real issues that I was struggling with and could not at that time open up fully to my therapist. Maybe if I could have opened up more then it would have worked but that is in the past.


Interesting views,and yes,it may work for one person and not for the other,but that can be said of most therapies.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
There are variations of EMDR involving various techniques or gadgets. The "theory", which is not evidence based, is that stimulating different visual fields or other sensory modalities repetitively and bilaterally somehow "reprograms" the brain. There isn't any real evidence for that at all and frankly it seems based in a misunderstanding of how the brain works.

OPn the other hand, if you look at EMDR as another form of guided imagery and/or suggestion/hypnosis, the procedures can be seen as a strategy for guiding the traumatized patient through disturbing memories while helping him/her to reduce the anxiety associated with those memories.

Like hypnosis, it seems to work, sometimes, for some people. For others, it does nothing.

I am always suspicious of hype and EMDR was hyped as THE treatment of choice for PTSD. I don't believe it is that. But it may be another tool in the therapists toolbox for some patients.
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