Many people express fear and curiosity about EMDR therapy in Orlando because it is pretty different from regular talk therapy. EMDR is a practical, goal-oriented, focused therapy with the potential to save lives. Here are tips for having the best possible EMDR therapy experience.
While there is no single way to provide therapy, there can be a wrong way. Like any other treatment available, EMDR can be dangerous when used irresponsibly or by a provider who does not have adequate training. If you are looking for EMDR therapy, make sure your provider is trained by an accredited institution. Do not be afraid to ask a therapist about their experience and training.
EMDR should always be practiced responsibly. Well-trained providers can identify conditions that interfere with EMDR’s effectiveness or cause a patient harm, including undiagnosed dissociative disorders, a need for therapy first, medical risk factors, a need for stabilization, and more.
A good relationship with your therapy provider helps you feel safe while exploring painful past traumas. The more trust between you and your therapist, the more effective EMDR therapy will be. Choose a provider you feel comfortable with, like talking to, and trust to establish a positive therapeutic relationship. The best therapists understand that they may not be perfect for every patient and will not be offended to learn that you would feel better working with someone else. The EMDR therapy process demands a trusting bond, so the best therapists only desire you to have the best therapeutic relationship possible for your individual needs.
EMDR can reveal challenging experiences and emotions from your past. So, your therapist will prepare you for the process with some exercises to make the therapy successful. It is critical to learn to do these exercises because they provide you with tools to calm yourself when you feel overwhelmed. For example, one of the exercises is to practice being in a calm or safe place. Mastering the exercises prepares you for reprocessing, but only you can determine when you feel comfortable moving forward.
There is no way for your provider to see inside your brain. Pretending you are ready or not being honest about your real internal experiences can lead to poor outcomes or make things worse. Understand that it is up to you to determine whether you are ready. The best therapists will respect your feelings entirely and do whatever is needed to prepare you for the process. They can give you their opinion on your level of readiness, but you are the one who makes the final decision.
Patients who understand how EMDR works in their brain have more successful results from treatment. Difficult experiences and trauma are stored differently in your brain than other memories. It is almost as though they became frozen in the wrong space. Sometimes life allows you to process them successfully later, but those that remain stuck can cause present problems, like flashbacks, nightmares, insecurity, OCD, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more.
Your unprocessed memories are frozen in time in such a way as to intrude on your normal thoughts. Studies confirm that traumatic incidents are usually activated from different parts of the brain than ordinary recollections. Since trauma can sometimes not be put into words, EMDR therapy focuses on visual memories, emotions, and body sensations.
Your provider will gently guide you through a process that stimulates both sides of your brain to allow your traumatic memories to be reprocessed. When you have finished, the memories have transitioned from psychological memories (threatening, alive, and emotional) to objective memories (a fact from the past that has little relevance to current events). From there, your symptoms also start to subside.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.