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Old 20 March 2018, 01:45 PM
Veruca's Avatar
Veruca Veruca is offline
Join Date: 07 August 2008
Location: Houston, TX
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Default EMDR: treatment or woo?

For those of y'all who have never heard of it, EMDR is "eye movement desensitization and reprocessing." It's supposed to help with PTSD and anxiety disorders. I've just started researching it, and what I've found online is a bit confusing, so I'm still not sure exactly how it's supposed to work. Here's an article from Scientific American with a quick overview of why it's a controversial treatment in the psychology community: EMDR: Taking a Closer Look.

I'm starting this thread because I've just started seeing a new therapist who is apparently a big believer in EMDR. To be honest, even though I'm skeptical, I'm willing to try it if she wants me to. I've ton a butt load of traditional cognitive behavioral therapy without a whole lot of success, so I'm willing to branch out a bit.

Do any of y'all have any kind of experience with EMDR or thoughts about it?
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Old 20 March 2018, 03:02 PM
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thorny locust thorny locust is offline
Join Date: 27 April 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 9,894

I am most definitely not a psychologist, and I've got no training in or experience with EMDR. However, I was struck by this bit in the article cited:

One day in 1987 Francine Shapiro, a California psychologist in private practice, went for a walk in the woods. She had been preoccupied with a host of disturbing thoughts. Yet she discovered that her anxiety lifted after moving her eyes back and forth while observing her surroundings.
particularly combined with this bit:

When scientists have compared EMDR with imaginal exposure, they have found few or no differences. Nor have they found that EMDR works any more rapidly than imaginal exposure. Most researchers have taken these findings to mean that EMDR's results derive from the exposure, because this treatment requires clients to visualize traumatic imagery repeatedly. Last, researchers have found scant evidence that the eye movements of EMDR are contributing anything to its effectiveness. When investigators have compared EMDR with a “fixed eye movement condition”—one in which clients keep their eyes fixed straight ahead—they have found no differences between conditions.
-- She went for a walk in the woods, and she felt better.

She decided that this was because of the way she moved her eyes while on the walk.

But that's far from the only thing that was different about walking in the woods than about (presumably) sitting in her office, or in her living room. Why did she pick how she was moving her eyes, and not how she was moving her legs, or her arms, or the likely differences in her heart rate and/or breathing? How about the (extremely likely) difference in the light? How about the (also very likely) difference in the air quality? How about the presence of other living organisms in the woods, and her awareness of this?
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Old 20 March 2018, 06:30 PM
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Ali Infree Ali Infree is offline
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Location: Colliers, WV
Posts: 2,597

I worked with a therapist more than 20 years, and he was certified for EMDR. We did one session of this to make me less anxious about interactions with my ex-wife. It seemed to help. I had not read anything about it before that.
I think if you trust your therapist, the worse that happens is that you waste some time and money. I know that I trust cognitive behavioral therapy because it makes sense to me.

My therapist offered to help me, using EMDR, with my dread fear of snakes. I said no to that, some fears I can live with. Then Snakes on a Plane came out. I never saw that movie

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