(Closed) Behavioural Therapy & Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

posted 6 years ago in Wellness
Post # 3
2073 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I’ve not had this particular kind of therapy but I’ve read it is showing to be helpful.

as for the thyroid biopsy…I had two.  My first one was unexpected so I didn’t really know what i was getting myself into.  Now for the second one, I requested a Valium or Xanax to take just before my appointment. I just had my mom drive me home. It wasn’t so bad and the took 6seperate samples.  Turns out I had thyroid cancer and needed surgery. 

If it were me, I’d ask for short term relaxation drug to get the biopsy doand and then look into the treatment for long term coping.  Just my unsolicited advice.  

Hope you start to feel better. Being hypothyroid for years before my cancer was treated was the worst since I had no idea what was wrong.  No family history and I was a teenager so it got attributed to teenage angst.  But on a happy note, I’m cancer free for 9 years now and have had no issues.  Just taking my Synthroid each morning and I’m grea!

Post # 5
3092 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I haven’t done EMDR but we had counselors who practiced EMDR and it was a client fav!

Post # 6
3028 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I am a therapist (don’t do EMDR) but can post more tomorrow (about to go to bed.)  Exposure/densensition therapy makes more sense reading over what you wrote than intensive and expensive EMDR. The only people who I have meet who did EMDR had extensive trauma history and was EMDR’ing for 6+ months at $150+ session.  Will write more manana!



Post # 7
2559 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Yeah I don’t have any experience with EMDR (I’m a psych graduate student) but I used to work in an anxiety lab that was very successful with exposure therapy for a variety of phobias. It was pretty cool to see people overcome their phobias!

Post # 8
3028 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I came back to AM to write a whole bunch, but think I said what was necessary…exposure therapy can be 6-8 sessions (1-2 months) so it is both cheap and fast enough to get donw what you need to get done. Plus the fact that you are able to identify and talk/write about it shows you are past stage 1 of treatment! 


Here’s a list of counselors that might do “Exposure therapy,” feel free to e-mail anyone who peaks you interest asking reading their bio.



Feel free to PM any questions you have!

Post # 10
3028 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@Pappy8:  Here’s the basics and this is all a guess because the therapist might have more/less steps or a diff style and of course step 2 might be 2-3 sessions.  The breathing technique could be replaced by a meditation or a positive affirmation.


Here’s an example of flying (my mom actually did this in a group)


Step 1: Ask how scared on 1-10 flying makes you feel?  10. Talk about flying, scared then rate feelings (1-10) = 8.  Learn breathing technique- repeat begining while using breathing techinque, scared = 5

Step 2: Talk about the flying experience: drive to airport, security, bags being checked then sitting in the airplane seat, scared = 9 = repeat using breathing technique, scared  = 6. Talk about flying again, scared at a 3 now

Step 3: Go to airport, walk around, watch planes take off/land, scared = 9 repeat using breathing technique, scared at 6.  Talk about the experience of flying, scared = 4

Step 4: Step on airplane and walk around, scared = 8, repeat using breathing technique scared at 5, talk about walking around airport, scared at 4

Step 5: might be purchasing ticket then reviewing step 1-4 rating each again in an office.  Over time and w/ each exposure the scared 1-10 decreases, maybe scared is about a 5 and a 4 when using a breathing techique. So the ratinng went from a 10 to a 4.


My mom flew after 2 weeks of this class with anxiety, but nothing over a 6.  Her first comment on the plane was that they didn’t allow smoking anymore!  it has been 22 years.


There are many videos on line and even a show on it for those with OCD called Obsessed on A&E.  I think the show is sensationalized a bit.


For the needles it would likely be; talk about the needle, look at needle, hold needle, have nurse enter room with needle, have needle next to your skin and possible the “technique” would be self-talk, “this will take 20 seconds,” ” it doesn’t hurt much,” “I need to do this for my overall health.”  If you can get your nerves calmed at a 1 when talking about needles the needle next to your skin with a nurse will decrease from a 10 to a 6. 

Post # 11
1 posts
  • Wedding: August 2008

Actually, research comparing EMDR therapy to Exposure Therapy shows that it is at least as effective but more importantly, has a much lower drop-out rate and a much higher rate of maintaining its effects!

I’m a therapist who uses EMDR as my primary treatment psychotherapy 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 (certified by the EMDR International Assoc. and trained by the EMDR Institute, both of which I strongly recommend in an EMDR therapist) I have used EMDR successfully with panic disorders, PTSD, anxiety, depression, grief, body image, phobias, distressing memories, bad dreams and more… 

It’s really crucial that a professionally trained therapist spends enough time in one of the initial phases (Phase 2) that involves preparing for memory processing or desensitization (memory processing or desensitization – phases 3-6 – is often referred to as “EMDR” which is actually an 8-phase psychotherapy). In this phase resources are “front-loaded” so that you have a “floor” or “container” to help with processing the really hard stuff. 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. So if you start feeling overwhelmed or extremely emotional, you can ground yourself (with your therapist’s help in session, and on your own between sessions) and feel safe enough to continue the work. In my practice, after the Phase 2 work lets us know that my patient is safe enough and able to cope with any emotion and/or physical sensation both during and between EMDR processing sessions, I often suggest we try a much less intense memory first if there is one that happened BEFORE the trauma(s). If there isn’t one, then I suggest we start developmentally with the least disturbing memory and work our way “up” to the most disturbing event(s). With panic attacks, the protocol is to start with the first one ever experienced, then the worst one, then the most recent one.

Grounding exercises are indispensable for people with anxiety (I know this first-hand!), and really essential in stressful times. Anyone 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). Anyway, the book is terrific. It’s 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 teaches readers lots of helpful techniques that can be used immediately and that are also used during EMDR therapy to calm disturbing thoughts and feelings.

As I’ve mentioned about Phase 2, during EMDR therapy you learn coping strategies and self-soothing techniques that you can use during EMDR processing or anytime you feel the need. 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 is that YOU, the client, are in control NOW, even though you likely were not during past 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) 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 ask you to say just a bit of what you’re noticing. (The stimulation should not be kept on continuously, because there are specific procedures that need to be followed to process the memory). 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 techniques that help make it the gentlest and safest way to neutralize bad life experiences and build resources.

Pacing and dosing are critically important. So if you ever feel that EMDR processing is too intense then it might be time to go back over all the resources that should be used both IN session and BETWEEN sessions. Your therapist should be using a variety of techniques to make painful processing less painful, like suggesting you turn the scene in your mind to black and white, lower the volume, or, erect a bullet-proof glass wall between you and the painful scene, or, imagine the abuser speaking in a Donald Duck voice… and so forth. There are a lot of these kinds of “interventions” that ease the processing. They are called “cognitive interweaves” that your therapist can use, and that also can help bring your adult self’s perspective into the work (or even an imaginary Adult Perspective). Such interweaves are based around issues of Safety, Responsibility, and Choice. So therapist questions like “are you safe now?” or “who was responsible? and “do you have more choices now?” are all very helpful in moving the processing along.

In addition to my therapy practice, I roam the web looking for EMDR discussions, try to answer questions about it posted by clients/patients, and respond to the critics out there. 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.

Post # 12
366 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@drpattijane:  Wow!! Thank you so much! I stumbled on this post by accident, and I am very happy, because I had read about EMDR long ago in a Dr Serban-Schreiber book (he unfortunately passed away) and I really wanted to know more about it! The book’s title was in French, but in English it would be something like “Cure anxiety and depression without medication”. He had a whole chapter about the EMDR, and spoke highly of it. So thank you very much, I will resume my researches about it now. It is really interesting to hear about it from someone who is trained for it.

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