Part 1: What is an EMDR Therapist? 

Maybe you’ve been in talk therapy for a while. But you’re getting exhausted by going into details of your past trauma. Or perhaps you have tried talk therapy before. Yet, after numerous sessions with little to no progress, you stopped therapy altogether. Alternatively, maybe you’ve never tried therapy before. You’ve been considering reaching out for help due to recent difficult life events. However, you’re unsure if talk therapy would be a good fit. Instead, you’re interested in alternatives for treating trauma.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? You may be a good candidate for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, often simply known as EMDR. You might be wondering what it’s like to work with an EMDR therapist and what an EMDR therapist does during sessions. Let’s explore the unique role of an EMDR therapist.

What is an EMDR Therapist?

Simply put, an EMDR therapist is specifically certified in EMDR. This means they are qualified to guide you through bilateral stimulation, which typically includes finger movements but can involve other motions, while you focus on the memories and accompanying sensations associated with a traumatic event. Rather than delving into the details of your past trauma, they will help you process these complex feelings without sharing every aspect of your experience.

Maybe you’ve been in talk therapy for a while. But you’re getting exhausted by going into details of your past trauma. Or perhaps you have tried talk therapy before. Yet, after numerous sessions with little to no progress, you stopped therapy altogether. Alternatively, maybe you’ve never tried therapy before. You’ve been considering reaching out for help due to recent difficult life events. However, you’re unsure if talk therapy would be a good fit. Instead, you’re interested in alternatives for treating trauma.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? You may be a good candidate for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, often simply known as EMDR. You might be wondering what it’s like to work with an EMDR therapist and what an EMDR therapist does during sessions. Let’s explore the unique role of an EMDR therapist.

What is an EMDR Therapist?

Simply put, an EMDR therapist is specifically certified in EMDR. This means they are qualified to guide you through bilateral stimulation, which typically includes finger movements but can involve other motions, while you focus on the memories and accompanying sensations associated with a traumatic event. Rather than delving into the details of your past trauma, they will help you process these complex feelings without sharing every aspect of your experience.

How an EMDR Therapist Differs From a Talk Therapist

An EMDR therapist isn’t focused on getting you to analyze your past. Instead, it’s about fully processing and releasing the tension you’re still holding on to. Furthermore, an EMDR therapist will help you hone in on specific traumatic events that are still causing you distress. You do not need to go over all of your life experiences and assess how they tie into your current feelings. Instead, you’ll have goals for your sessions focused on processing certain events.

History-Taking and Information Gathering

When you begin EMDR therapy, your therapist will spend some time learning about your experiences with trauma. This does not mean you have to bring up extremely personal details that you may not feel comfortable sharing with a new therapist. Together, you’ll decide which memories to target. This will form the bedrock of your treatment plan. Your therapist will also recommend strategies to help you prepare for sessions.

Guiding EMDR Sessions

Throughout sessions, your therapist will direct your eye movements with finger motions. As you follow along, you’ll focus on a particular “target” memory and note where you feel uncomfortable physical sensations as you hold your attention on this memory. You’ll also shift your focus towards positive affirmations and mantras as you go through this process. This is how your therapist will gradually support you in replacing the negative beliefs and sensations associated with your trauma with positive sensations. During each session, you’ll choose a different memory to target.

Providing Closure

An EMDR therapist won’t simply send you back home without support after a session! Part of an EMDR therapist’s job is to close out sessions and ensure that the client is feeling stable and grounded again before they wrap up. Additionally, they will recommend exercises such as journaling that can help you cope with any complicated feelings that might crop up after you leave the session. By noting how you feel in between sessions, you can better prepare for future sessions. Your therapist will want to hear about insights that you jot down and what you want to focus on for your next session.

Are you curious about the potential benefits of EMDR therapy? Talking to a therapist can help you find answers to your questions. Reach out to us to go over your options for scheduling a session for EMDR intensives.