EMDR Therapy and nightmares…

posted 1 month ago in Emotional
Post # 2
4030 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Ok so that is so weird you are posting this, I’ve been through some bad trauma this past year after my father in law and sister died. I started therapy and it turned into a more intense EDMR therapy which I reluctantly agreed to.

I’ve only done it three times over the course of a few months but I started feeling worse too, I was becoming more outwardly emotional, crying a lot (I would call it weepy) and didn’t feel like myself.

I had bad nightmares too but didn’t attribute them with EMDR bUt now seeing your post I am wondering if it was from that. I stopped going all together and I’m not sure if I’m going to go back. Ever since I’ve stopped I’m feeling better. Idk if it’s because I wasn’t a good fit for it or if it’s because it’s just not for me. Interesting that you had a similar experience to me though. 

Post # 4
1118 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

Oh no!! I am supposed to start EMDR therapy in a few weeks for childhood trauma (emotionally abusive mother). I am hoping that feeling more triggered/emotional isn’t the case for everyone. 🙁

Post # 5
551 posts
Busy bee

Weirdly, this happened to me when I started an ill-fated journey with TM (Transcendental Meditation). It was like I opened a door to something that I was NOT equipped to deal with yet. I know others who have experienced this with other forms of therpy meant to directly access the subconscious—sometimes, when the trauma is overwhelming a slightly more indirect method is better, like narrative talk therapy or internal family systems. 

Post # 6
84 posts
Worker bee

desertgypsy :  Go see your doctor! Voice your concerns with them. If you don’t like this therapy, and I cannot stress this enough, find a new therapist! What works for some people doesn’t work for everyone. Your past experience and therapist will make your experience with that kind of therapy, or any kind, unique. I cannot over stress how important it is for you to talk to your doctor, and talk to your therapist, to see what your next steps should be. If you don’t tell them what’s going on (the nightmares) then they can’t help you!

Post # 7
10865 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

desertgypsy :  

I am so sorry to hear that you are suffering like this, Bee.

EMDR is one therapy I have not tried.  I have decades of trauma, much of which I *thought* had been processed.

Ketamine infusion therapy has worked better than anything I have ever tried.  It just drilled right down to it and cleared out the crud.

Unlike most patients, I work with a therapist during the actual infusion.  I get super chatty and my recall, I’m told, is very clear.  That’s an atypical response.

I have had zero side effects, other than feeling a little tired the next day.

The current research is showing a 70% response rate in general; with PTSD, it gets as high as 95%.

Relief can be had in hours, not weeks.  Even the FDA recognizes it.  The synthetic, Esketamine was fast tracked and approved earlier this year.  It got fast tracked due to its value as a suicide prevention med.  the nasal spray was approved, but, the i.v. will get there.  That’s how insurance companies get out of paying; depression treatment is an off label use.

So, for now, it’s pricey.

Many people do require periodic boosters.  I can easily go six months, depending on what’s going on around me.

Anyway, I have become a very strong advocate for this type of therapy.  Ask me anything.

Post # 9
914 posts
Busy bee

I’m sorry you are having this experience. 


I did emdr therapy for several months, and while I did occasionally feel a bit wiped out and shaken up after the sessions, those feelings were gone by the next day and overall I did not have an increase in anxiety or depression. In fact I felt remarkably well.

I’m no expert, but maybe this therapist isn’t right for you. 

Post # 11
423 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

desertgypsy :  I am so sorry that you’re going through this! I would be very curious to hear what your therapist says. I’m going through EMDR right now to deal with birth trauma. I decided to try it because I was still having a very hard time after 8 months of talk therapy. The sessions have been intense, but I feel lighter afterwards and haven’t had nightmares. As others have said, maybe this isn’t quite the right approach for you. Regardless, I hope you get some relief soon!

Post # 12
2181 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

I haven’t done it. I know that it can be very helpful to some people, but maybe it’s just not right for you? Some doctors don’t think that you have to “process” the trauma to heal it. There are ways to learn coping skills for trauma that don’t involve trying to relive it. Or maybe this doctor is not the right choice for you. I would certainly talk to the doctor about it and maybe get a second opinion. 


Post # 13
1757 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

desertgypsy :  I dunno Bee, that all sounds really intense and not a good fit. I am going to assume you have spoken to your therapist about this?

I have a lot of childhood trauma, and have done several therapies. My current one (I am in the last sessions) has been by far the most dramatic improvement even though it has been the most gentle. I am working with a trained trauma therapist with techniques developed especially for childhood / parent-child trauma. It is incredibly gentle, patient led and an absolutely affirming situation. At no time did I ever feel like I was getting worse or things were getting scary. It was the exact objective of my therapist to avoid that sort of thing. After a life time of “going through sh**” I was happy and relieved to find a gentle and effective therapy that was so respectful and infinitely compassionate. (I am talking about learning skills to deal with mindset and habits which helped me to survive trauma, but no longer served my now safe self. Also exploring patterns and my reactions and understanding how they came to be.)


I don’t think you have to blow up your world to get better. You have been through enough. Keeping you in my thoughts!

Post # 14
92 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

Hi bee, sorry to hear this! Do you have an experienced therapist? My sibling went for EMDR and benefited from it tremendously. It didn’t work instantly but from what I understand it wasn’t like months of agony either like what you are describing, which sounds really tough. Lots of people do get “worse” I think in general when they start processing memories that have been blocked for a long time and it can be particularly tough if they access their trauma too soon with a new therapist (ie have not eatablished a really secure safe zone/trust with the person/have not learned self-regulation etc) or when the therapist does not know how to contain/direct/manage what is happening.

I would discuss with my therapist whether a break from EMDR is advisable and you can perhaps return to it later? Best of luck, and I’m really sorry you are dealing with this! I wish you well! 


Post # 15
235 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I’m on a waiting list for EMDR but from everything I’ve read it’s working well when you feel like you’re doing nothing and are bored and that’s it actually working. 

Either way though it really doesn’t sound like it’s a good fit for you. I would definitely talk to whoever is doing the EMDR with you and tell them the full extent of how you’re feeling and the nightmares etc. Because I really don’t think anyone could get better from feeling like that in a therapeutic session.

For reference, I did 2 years of psychotherapy and felt how you describe feeling with the EMDR and nearly got hospitalised because I got so low. I had thought getting worse was part of the process, but you shouldn’t be feeling like this. 

I am really glad to hear that your Darling Husband and XH care about you so much and want to help you. It just sounds like trying something else might be a better fit. Maybe you could discuss with the EMDR person your concerns and ask if they’ve had people say that before and if so what did those people go on to try. The ketamine infusion one that PP said about sounds like it might have potential for you.

Best of luck bee, I’m really sorry you’re having to go through all this.

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