Frequently Asked Questions About EMDR And PTSD

Military veterans have gone through unimaginable life experiences to serve the country. Some of these experiences may include too much danger, which can be traumatic. 

Trauma is not new to these veterans. The mere memories of their experiences can bring utter discomfort. Simple associations about the traumatic experience can instantly relive the feelings. It may then lead to increased fear and anxiety to the point of detaching themselves, even from loved ones.

If you have a family member who’s a military veteran, observe these indicators. Often, these symptoms may indicate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is sadly common for veterans. Unfortunately, this condition can affect the overall quality of life.


Some of the most common ways to manage PTSD include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications. Additional support from loved ones and group therapy members can also help improve this condition.

But apart from these, emerging technologies like EMDR are on the rise to combat PTSD. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) seeks to reverse negative thoughts and feelings associated with a traumatic experience. 

During an EMDR session, the therapist will ask the patient to recall a traumatic event while moving their fingers side-to-side. This simple movement proves beneficial in changing how PTSD patients react to their trauma.

According to a study, EMDR is also more effective than trauma-based CBT when reducing negative associations. Because of these benefits and its growing popularity, you may be enticed to start this treatment immediately. But before you seek this option, make sure you have a reasonable understanding of EMDR.

This article aims to provide more information about EMDR as PTSD treatment. In this article, we’ve answered some FAQs about EMDR therapy.

What is EMDR trauma therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is commonly used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). During EMDR therapy, the patient briefly and sequentially recalls distressing memories while simultaneously concentrating on an external stimulus.

It utilizes rapid and rhythmic lateral eye movement through therapist direction or other external stimuli such as audio stimulation and hand-tapping.

Can EMDR traumatize?

EMDR does not traumatize as directing the eye movements while recalling traumatic events diverts patients’ attention. However, it requires stability through its initial phases to gain an excellent emotional foundation in recalling their traumatic experiences.

What therapy is best for trauma?

There are numerous therapy techniques therapists use for addressing trauma patients. Most therapies combine different therapy techniques to resolve trauma. It may include therapy methods such as CBT, psychotherapy, EMDR, exposure therapy, and hypnotherapy.

How many sessions of EMDR do you need for PTSD?

The specific number of EMDR sessions for PTSD is around 6 to 12 sessions, delivered 1 to 2 times every week. However, some people see significant improvements in their condition, even with fewer sessions.

Can EMDR make you worse?

Since EMDR requires you to recall your trauma history, it’s not uncommon to experience discomfort while in session. However, therapists trained with providing EMDR will have the proper training in handling symptoms and side effects that may arise during the therapy.

Can EMDR cause false memories?

There are only a few reported cases of EMDR, causing false memories. It’s because, unlike talk therapy, there is little clinical input in EMDR. Thus, the process of EMDR allows the brain to make the correct internal connection while recalling traumatic events.


Why is EMDR terrible?

EMDR is generally a safe and widely-supported therapy method. That said, as the process causes a heightened awareness of your mind, it can cause headaches and light-headedness. However, EMDR manifests lesser side effects compared to when you take prescription medications.

Can EMDR cause suicidal thoughts?

Various associations can come to the surface in the middle phases of EMDR, including suicidal ideation. These associations can get triggered during the preprocessing phase. They are generally manageable and not causes harmful effects to the patient.

Can you do EMDR on yourself?

It is possible to apply EMDR techniques and strategies in your daily life. However, you would still need an EMDR therapist to process distressing memories that surface from using EMDR techniques. They will help you develop effective coping mechanisms and resolutions to overcome your past traumas.

Is EMDR permanent?

Many studies have found evidence that patients can maintain the effects of EMDR therapy in the long term. However, it will only be possible if they are given consistent standard care after undergoing EMDR therapy.

How do you tell if you have repressed trauma?

Many studies have found evidence that patients can maintain the effects of EMDR therapy in the long term. This will only be possible if they are given consistent standard care after undergoing EMDR therapy.

Is EMDR a form of hypnosis?

No, EMDR is not a form of hypnosis or hypnotic technique. Unlike hypnosis, EMDR does not put patients in a trance-like state of consciousness. It is a visualization technique involving recalling and reprocessing traumatic memories.

Can EMDR treat ADHD?

EMDR has been studied as a treatment for ADHD with promising results. However, it still needs further research and conclusive evidence to determine its efficacy in treating the condition.

How does EMDR rewire the brain?

EMDR connects memories of traumatic events with new information and configures the brain’s dysfunctional neural networks in the process. EMDR allows the body to resolve repressed sensations and triggers by blending new emotions and thoughts into distressing memories.

What are the 8 phases of EMDR?

The eight phases of EMDR navigate through periods of past, present, and future experiences concerning traumatic experiences. Going through these phases allows a patient to resolve memories of traumatic events emotionally. Here are the eight phases of EMDR:

  1. Trauma history taking
  2. Client preparation
  3. Assessment
  4. Desensitization
  5. Installation
  6. Body Scan
  7. Closure
  8. Treatment progress examination



Based on the answers above, EMDR is a treatment that requires the guidance of a professional. Recalling a traumatic event alone may prove to be upsetting. Allowing professionals to facilitate EMDR will ensure better success for the treatment. 

EMDR is a complicated treatment option. It means there should also be high standards for a therapist. First, consider the therapist’s credibility. Make sure to choose someone who has an EMDRIA certification.

Certified EMDR therapists are the only professionals who can use EMDR. They can simultaneously do the treatment while ensuring that anxiety attacks won’t occur. With their EMDRIA-certified, they can also address any questions or concerns about the treatment. 

It is also essential to consider the patient and therapist’s compatibility. Choose a therapist who respectful and who listens. Remember, the majority of the EMDR sessions will include sharing memories and feelings with the therapist.

Lastly, find an EMDR therapist whose treatment is within the insurance coverage. EMDR therapy is a long process that may take up to 6-12 sessions for over six weeks.

Upon finding an EMDR clinic and an understanding therapist, the journey towards peaceful living begins. With a solid support system and commitment to positive progress, it’s possible to enjoy life as a veteran. 

For the veterans, believe you can do it and trust your EMDR therapist throughout your treatment process. In time, you’ll learn to conquer your trauma and live your life to the fullest again!


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