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Real People Talking About Their EMDR Sessions

By Tricia Andor, Licensed Professional Counselor

This video is the best one I’ve found giving a brief demonstration of EMDR (played by an actor, but the script is from a real session), plus testimonials (these are the real people, not actors) that are very similar those I hear from my own clients. The only thing is, you’ll have to read the subtitles since they’re speaking… Dutch, I think.

The woman who found her husband after he committed suicide commented that, “I can still see the image, down to the smallest detail, but the strong emotional response that was linked to it is completely gone.” This comment reminds me of the things I’ve heard from my own clients after EMDR. The memory isn’t gone, but the strong emotional response – whether fear, anxiety, avoidance, terror, feeling frozen or overwhelmed – is.

Note: in the session, the therapist tells the client to “look at the image and tell yourself ‘I’m powerless.'” To be clear, any person in an EMDR session will have identified their own negative belief, with the guidance of their therapist. So, “I’m powerless” must have been this person’s specific negative belief. It won’t necessarily be yours. The early stages of your EMDR therapy will entail your therapist helping you specifically identify the negative belief you have held about your upsetting or traumatic situation.

Again, when the therapist says, “Feel that negative feeling in your chest and throat” – same thing here. That must have been what this particular person identified for herself. Everyone is different.

Notice the look on the client’s face when therapist tells her to look at the memory and say to herself, “I can handle looking at this.” It’s calm, whereas at the beginning of the session her facial emotion looks distressed, constricted…overwhelmed. This too is a common shift I see with EMDR clients. The emotion on people’s faces frequently changes from a fearful, anxious, disgusted, overwhelmed, or pained look to one of neutrality or calmness.

Another note: In the video, Tobias – the child – says “When I was done with [the EMDR], my entire head was empty.” – just to be clear, that was in the context of the him saying he had lots of distraction in his head. Your mind will not be empty!! You will not have the trauma memory wiped out — just the strong negative emotion associated with it.

In my practice I tend to use eye movements rather than auditory clicks that are shown here.

At the end, people are encouraged to contact the Association EMDR Netherlands. The EMDR website for the United States contact is www.emdr.com.

If you have any questions about EMDR as a method of treatment for you, or would like to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact me – Tricia Andor – at 605-695-7913. You can also visit my EMDR page to read up more about it.