What to Expect After EMDR

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on October 1, 2021.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, otherwise known as EMDR, is a therapeutic technique that helps people process specific traumatic events.

If you're considering taking on EDMR therapy, you may have questions relating to how EMDR works, what to expect from and after an EMDR session and whether EMDR causes side effects. Diamond House Detox wants to answer some of these questions and put your mind at ease.

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

EMDR therapy is split into eight stages of treatment:

  1. History and treatment planning
  2. Preparation
  3. Assessment
  4. Desensitization
  5. Installation
  6. Body scan
  7. Closure
  8. Reevaluation

During EMDR treatment, a therapist will ask you to recall traumatic experiences while directing you to move your eyes back and forth. The eye-moving process mimics eye movement that happens during REM sleep, the time when our brain is operating at its most optimal level. The eventual goal of EMDR therapy is to desensitize you to the traumatic event through exposure so it becomes part of your regular memories.

What Should You Expect at Your First EMDR Session?

At your first EMDR session, a few things will happen:

  • You'll get to know your therapist: One of the most important things to figure out in the initial meeting is if this therapist is a good fit for you. Being unable to connect with your therapist can impact how much you get from EMDR. If you feel uncomfortable, you can request treatment with another therapist.
  • You'll learn some strategies: Before starting the therapy itself, your therapist might teach you some relaxation techniques or coping skills.
  • Your therapist will get to know you: Expect your therapist to ask you questions about your past. Knowing this information will help your therapist guide your treatment and understand how best to help you.

Are There Side Effects to EMDR?

After your EMDR session, you should expect to feel some tenseness or anxiety. However, these feelings should fade with time as you work through the eight steps of EMDR therapy.

Despite causing initial feelings of uneasiness, EMDR can work for you. EMDR therapy aids the way our brain already works and speeds up the process. Statistically, EMDR has some of the most compelling evidence of success compared to other therapies. Although there's no timeline for this treatment, some people report receiving positive results through EMDR within just three sessions.

Get EMDR Treatment With Diamond House Detox

Diamond House Detox offers dynamic treatment options for every clients' needs. The therapists in our Sacramento recovery center are ready to assist you in EMDR therapy and other treatments you might need as you work through your recovery. Contact us today for more information about our detox treatments.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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