What is EMDR Therapy? Mental Health w Kati Morton | Kati Morton


Today we’re talking, drumroll please, about EMDR Therapy. What is it and why do we use it? *Intro Music* So, what is EMDR? Well, EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. I know that that’s a mouthful, but it honestly is very descriptive as to what EMDR is, And we’ll get into it, and I’ll explain exactly how it works to the best of my ability. But I want you all to know that I’ve done a significant amount of research on this. I’ve actually spent time with three different clinicians who do EMDR. I am not trained in EMDR, and I do not practice it myself, But I have found it to be very helpful for many of my clients struggling with processing through a trauma. Now the basics of EMDR are that it is short term. There is no set number of sessions that you need to have, but they say that it’s not like a year long process. It all depends on your level of traumatization, how able you are to stay present, because dissociation is very common, If you want more on dissociation click over here. I’ve done a video on that. But if dissociation is very common for you, it may take you a little longer, because the whole point of EMDR is for you to be able to stay present in your body while they work on desensitizing and reprocessing the traumas. An interesting part of EMDR, and many of the clinicians that I talked with spoke about this. Is how important REM sleep is in our brain’s ability to process through our day. That’s actually why sleep is so important. I know I’ve talked about that before in the video where I got a new mattress, I talked about the importance of sleep and what that does for us. But REM sleep, if you aren’t aware is Rapid Eye Movement. So it means that our eyes are (whirring sounds) and by them going left to right our brain is actually processing through what’s happened that day. And that they think explains why dreams are so random, because there are certain things that happen that weren’t important in our day and other things that were. And things that maybe happened that we haven’t had time to process. So maybe when we have that one long night of sleep, we’re able to go through more than normal. There are a lot of factors in it. But they talk about how REM sleep is the reason the EMDR works. Because REM while our eyes are moving back and forth, and that’s involuntary, our brain is processing our day. EMDR is creating that in session, in order for you to go back to those traumatizing experiences, and let your brain take the time to actually process through it. Now there are many ways that they can do what they call bilateral stimulation. Meaning like left to right, so that we are in essence simulating the left to right eye movement that we have during REM sleep. Some of the people that I talked with always have people follow their hand or fingers. And they will do this during session. Others have what we call tappers, which are little they’re connected with a cord and they buzz. Buzz left to right. There are also headphones we can put in, which make sounds. Either beeps or little bings in left to right ears. Anything to stimulate the left to right sensation. Other people sometimes do like tapping on their arms. There are a lot of different ways that we can get that bilateral stimulation that is key to EMDR working Much of the research about EMDR proves it to be just as effective as CBT in the treatment of traumas. But there is a lot of chatter in the psychological community about this. Some people completely disagree with it, saying that it doesn’t do anything. Others saying it’s like magic. It helps patients so much. I would just encourage you to talk with your clinician, if it’s something that you’re interested in trying, try it. I have a friend, Paul Gilmartin, who’s been on my videos who’s done EMDR, and he said that it was key to his recovery. It wasn’t this huge part of his treatment, but it was a short-term treatment that he did in addition to his regular talk therapy that really helped him process through what he had been through as a child. And so I also have many clients do really really well with it. And I just, I like it. I’m on board with it. I know other clinicians may disagree, and that is fine. But if it’s something you’re considering, I hope that this video at least gives you can idea of what to expect, so that you are able to get the treatment that you need and deserve as you work through your traumas. Now to get into EMDR a little bit more, I’m going to talk about the 8 phases. And the clinicians that I spoke with say that sometimes you go straight through them exactly as the phases go. Sometimes you have to go back. Some phases take longer than others. And so I’m just going to briefly tell you what they are. And I will link in the description more information on this, if you want to read about each of the phases. But just know that it’s really your clinicians discretion as they’re working with you. And how long they take in each of these, and may be going back and forth between them as needed for you and your process. So the first phase is history and treatment planning. That’s like what are we going to do. Where have you come from? What are you working on? The second is preparation. Letting you prepare for the actual EMDR. Helping you calm yourself down and be present, stay in your body. Three is assessment. Four is desensitization. Five is installation. Six is body scan. Seven is closure. And eight is re-evaluation. Now I didn’t want to go into too much detail. I’ll tell you overall what my experience has been talking with people and seeing it done with clients. EMDR helps you internalize, and I think the word they use, installation, positive cognitions around a negative trauma. So let’s say we had, we were physically abused as a child. They will take you back to that time and have you maybe alter the image or the scenario that plays out. Maybe the flashback. Have you try to slow it down, speed it up. Make it black and white. They’ll have you try to change it, and they’ll have you try to bring in some positive cognitions. Maybe it’s your best friend. Maybe it’s your dog. Maybe it’s your husband. Maybe it’s you know a joke, a person who always tells great jokes and makes you laugh. You bring in certain things to the room within that flashback, so that you’re in control And you have support in that scenario. Like changing that scenario for yourself. And that’s a huge part of EMDR, is being able to bring resources into the trauma. And knowing that you’re in control of it and helping you process through it. And not feel so helpless, because often what we find happens in PTSD and C-PTSD symptomology is that we feel helpless and instead of fight-or-flight, we froze. And so part of the treatment of EMDR is letting us know that we have control. We have the ability to bring people in. We have the ability to leave, maybe. And they’ll have you work out different scenarios that feel right for you, so that you feel more in control of that scenario. It doesn’t feel like it keeps happening over and over, which is kind of what flashbacks do. They can re traumatize us, so they try to help you get control of that, and process through it. So in conclusion I just hope that if EMDR is something that your therapist is talking to you about, that you consider it. It doesn’t mean that it is going to cure everything. It doesn’t mean that in three sessions, poof, you’ll feel better and nothing will ever bother you again. But I do think that EMDR is a resource. It’s something that I’ve seen help many of my clients. It’s something that many of you have reported has helped you, and so I would encourage you to look into it. To talk more in depth. To maybe make an appointment with an EMDR specialist and check it out. If you go, and you don’t like it or it makes you feel uncomfortable, that doesn’t mean you have to continue. Just like finding a regular therapist, it’s important that you feel comfortable with your EMDR therapist. It’s even, honestly, I would say is even more important, because essentially they’re going to take you back to those really really nasty tricky traumatizing times. And they’re going to help you reprocess it and be able to stay present and calm yourself. And so you need to feel calm and relaxed in their office. And you need to really have a good feeling about them and feel like you can trust them with this process. I hope you found this helpful. Please leave your thoughts and experiences on EMDR in the comments. It’s so helpful that we get to share that. And please share the video. We never know who is contemplating this, who’s struggling. You never know who it’s gonna help. And if you’re new to my channel and you haven’t subscribed, why is that? Click over here to subscribe. I put out videos all the time, and you don’t want to miss them. And I’ll see you next time.

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Comments

  1. My therapist is wanting to try this with me. The thing is though, I have repressed a lot (a LOT) of my memories as a child and idk what all has traumatized me. I just don’t recall. I mean, there are a few that I know of for sure, be it a memory or a family member telling me about it, and some more recent and small things. Basically what I’m tryna ask is does this treatment bring back those memories ??

  2. Can this help me with my cptsd and depersonalization.. I'm scared cuz I might remember things that I forgot that were worse than the traumas I remember

  3. Someone was telling me about this today – does it have to be about a specific event, or does it work for childhood emotional neglect?

  4. Kati, I love your videos. I hope you can answer this. I'm sure you get a lot of questions. How is EMDR different from hypnosis? It sounds kind of similar.

  5. I don't know if this has been answered yet but I have suffered from cptsd for most of my life but I don't remember the things I experienced as a kid because of dissociations and depersonalisation. how could those memories be brought back to be worked on? I'm very interested in emdr and curious

  6. I got the idea before that EMDR was this really flakey thing. My previous therapist suggested this to me as something that might be able to help me. She never explained it quite as good as you did here, and she tried it on me once (for a few minutes!) and then decided it wouldn't help me. I remember having a hard time focusing in part because it all seemed so weird, and I didn't get exactly what I was supposed to think about either. It was just messy. :p

  7. After a childhood with daily abuse on all levels from 2 high ranking Marine Corp./Vietnam Vet parents and an extremely abusive brother (who tried to kill me 3 separate times) at age 42 I received this therapy and it really worked wonders for reprogramming my brain. Made it so..I'm..not looking over my shoulder all of the time and I can actually be mindful.present. I highly recommend it.

  8. I am about to try this therapy i think it will help for one event in a persons life but my concern is that when there are so much abuse and truma that when all of is comes flooding out and my head starts spinning because it's so over whelming . I thing this is great for rape and like things that were like out of no were and like truma but not long term abuse not for people that were abused for days and years like my self because to say one thing one moment one person one event . Your right not for everyone i think this would be wonderful for some people but not for me and this video just helped me realized what i want to get out of my EMDR therapy. Not for my childhood abuse but My Rape My Kidnapping my …….. the 4 days of my life that I am survivor not a victim any more thank you Katie!!!!!!!

  9. I start EMDR soon. Mine will be handled slightly different. My therapist said I never disassociate. She seemed amazed not sure if that means anything.

  10. I have had a great experience with emdr so far. I'm very grateful for the option. My provider has me go into the emotion of the memory. if it's anger, we have to go deeper for what preceded the anger. hold onto it as long as I can while watching the lights. it can be very very difficult to hold onto the emotion as the lights have an almost hypnotic soothing effect – but the longer I have been able to hold onto the negative emotion while watching the lights, the more emotion will come out and then it's gone. I have had two areas of trauma that we have completed, and there is no more negative emotion associated with the memories. those areas just feel "light". How well it works has been very surprising.

  11. I find it would be very helpful to stress the copious amount of evidence based research supporting its validity and efficacy. This is not some hokey unresearched therapy option.

  12. After reading the comments….I think my only option is old fashioned lobotomy! Trying to make myself laugh here…;) Have cptsd and nothing works. Not dead yet! ♡

  13. I would never recommend this to anyone just saying from my personal experience it was horrible my dad is dead and gone from cancer since 2004 I would have been way better off not remembering what happened when I went to this therapy in 2013 because it almost had me killing myself that's my experience with it and if I could go back in time and take it back I would I think I would be a white much more and healthier and happier at peace person if I would not have come to this therapy

  14. I'm kind of thinking from all the comments in whatever that I've descried through that I had a really shady therapist and I'm kind of pisse now but whatever it is what it is but no I would not recommend this to anyone sings the fact that almost killed myself and 2013 in here I am in 2019 alive and well I'm about to be 46 years old and I would rather not of been given the opportunity to you relive that tromma that I blocked out and I'm just being honest

  15. Intriguing, Kati… was not aware of this; I use to provide Therapy…but never used that!! Please come over to my channel.

  16. I was looking for an actual description of what EMDR was and how it works. This was a very good explanation of it, thank you so much!

  17. I just want to say this therapy has worked and helped me. My therapist made sure I was comfortable with them first and we did talk therapy beforehand for some time. I think its worth a try if you think it would help if you have ptsd or cptsd

  18. I am just starting emdr thursday and don't know what is going to happen. Any advice for self care, relaxation etc.. Thanks. It would be much appreciated.

  19. I just don’t get it because when I did emdr she didn’t give me any techniques or anything like that. She didn’t give me a safe place. She just said to think about “the traumatic thing” and then asked “what do you notice?” Every 30 seconds. I was just making things up the whole time.. it was kinda annoying

  20. So I'm considering this, but at the same time I've been working with myself to recognize and come back. My recent flash backs come from finding my mother's body, so in my bedroom I have worked my way through game of thrones. Dissociating left and right but as an exercise of thanking my body for protecting me but remembering that I'm safe now. I'm crocheting as well to keep concentration when I would zone out before.

  21. Had my first EMDR session today. It was incredibly revealing and brought forward a lot of subconscious issues that I did not know were affecting me. I feel very positive for the future and what EMDR is capable in doing to alleviate my anxiety and PTSD. PLEASE do not discount this practice! It works!

  22. I'm doing this right now and it's interesting to understand a bit more about what I'm doing. Thanks for explaining!!
    I've had a few sessions now, and I feel like I'm starting to be more aware of my feelings and what I can do to change things. I've actually now decided to change my name, and so now going by "Alice". All of my friends have been really supportive but my family, as always, with the exception of one or two people are very negative about it. I'm trying to learn to deal with these feelings more and I hope that EMDR will help me along the way.

  23. Thank you for your engaging explanation. I was sent this by Clinical Psychologist Chris Hayes who's going to help me with Complex Trauma and PTSD. I am scared but will face my fears 🤗💕

  24. So helpful. I've used EMDR and it was absolutely a game-changer. My therapist used the tappers and we still use them from time to time to process other components of the residual effects of the trauma like anxiety in dating. It's been hugely helpful and definitely agree that it's worth trying. It took me about four months to go through all the sessions, and at one point it got to be too intense that I had to stop the therapy and do some more talk therapy before we tried it again.

  25. My therapist mentioned this to me last week, I'm doing the research on it and have discovered the dissociation part of my bpd. I haven't even talked to a specialist yet and I'm scared to death about it. I'm sitting here crying my eyes out I'm so scared.

  26. It worked for me, no talk therapy or visualizing done, just finger & eye movement, now my brain is processing it, not re playing

  27. I did one EMDR session with my therapist and after I left the session I felt some weight lifted off my shoulders. It truly allowed me to be open and make my inner self feel better, and in control. I would like to try it again to continue processing other traumatic moments in my life.

  28. I was diagnosed with PTSD and they recommend EMDR. It helped SO much. My father was killed in a small plane accident when I was 14. The plane was missing for 6 months. At 14 (40 years ago!) the worst period of my life. I never dealt with it. Fast forward to a just a few years ago. Something traumatic triggered me. Anyhow, during the first session, I was holding the tappers, one in each hand. As they started alternately buzzing in my hands , I looked down to the space between my fists. Then something a little freaky happened. I saw smoke emanating from each of my closed fists. In the space between my fistsw I saw an oscillating globe like shape with a funnel coming up to to top and then an upside down funnel inside the globe. I researched and what I saw is called a Torus or a Toroid. A torus is basically a form of sacred geometry that is used to describe the self-reflective nature of consciousness. I asked my therapist what the heck happened. She just turned it around in a matter of fact way and asked me what I thought it was. Well first, it was a hallucination (likely from the brain stimulation) and that it looked like “energy”. That was the only way to describe it. My psychiatrist acted like it was no big deal and just said that I was under stress. You think he’d be dolling out an antipsychotic. Anyhow it only happened that one time. I was hoping It would happen again because it was amazing. I did call the institute that trains therapists in EMDR to ask if this has happened before. She said she had never heard of it before. Anyhow, I wonder sometimes if anyone else had this experience.

  29. I want to try this. I think it could really help me get through some emotional trauma that I have experienced .

  30. Thank you for your excellent video. I am about to use this therapy and this helped to explain the process. I am working with medical trauma from childhood because I must have a surgery in the next month.
    Complete random question. Is that "The Fool" card tucked in the mirror behind you?

  31. I’ve had EDMR therapy for some trauma i experienced in my teenage years and I’m one of the people that call it “magical”! I think it will only work if you go into it willing to give it an honest try. I was in a desperate place, so I was very willing and it worked within one session. It’s very intense in the moment, your body reacts with anxiety to the trauma very strongly, but if you have a good therapist, they’ll direct you well and tell you to focus on the right thoughts and it will get better almost in one round. It does make you feel exhausted afterwards. But one good thing I’ve found was that before the treatment I was having nightmares where people I loved‘s faces would turn into my abusers and they would start to hurt me. I started having very different dreams after just one session of EDMR where I would feel strong amounts of love for these people and we would just have very loving and positive interactions in my dreams. No faces morphing into abusers, just love and peace! ❤️

    I think people who aren’t on board simply haven’t given it an honest chance or actually listened to how it’s helped people. Even my therapist told me she thought she got hijinked when she took the training to get certified for it, but she gave it an honest try with her clients and that’s when she really believed it worked because she saw huge changes in the first couple sessions with people who carried very heavy mental baggage from their past!

  32. Me and my therapist tried to do EMDR. For some reason, it made me highly uncomfortable and I know my therapist wants me to continue doing it but I just can't seem to

  33. I had my first EMDR session last week, and shed more tears in that 1 session that the last 5 years of therapy with other clinicians. My stress and anxiety levels for the next few days dropped, I think this is going to be the therapeutic method I've been needing for half of my life. PTSD is a horrific nightmare both literally and metaphorically. I'm really glad I found this great therapist, he's the PTSD clinician of choice for our emergency services I believe, & I see exactly why now.

  34. Hi Kati: Thanks for your thoughtful review of EMDR! I love that you went through the 8 stages, and didn't focus only on the eye movements because it is a comprehensive therapy technique! I love using it with my clients because of the improvements I see – it is highly, highly effective for panic attacks, PTSD, recent traumatic events and a number of other things. I've posted a video on "How Does EMDR Work | And Can It Help Me?" which I think will also help people figure out if they should try it!

  35. I was researching EMDR Trauma Therapy since a friend will be starting it in two weeks and she is a little apprehensive about it, but wants it. I have read a lot and watched several videos before I came across your video. I love how you delivered the information to everyone so we can understand! And you are always nice and enthusiastic, yet compassionate at the same time. Thank you!

    I am sending your link to my friend. She watched a few YouTube videos on EMDR and it scared her. (She is getting the EMDR with Light Bar Therapy.) Right now, everything scares her. I think your video will provide some comfort to her.

    I have never subscribed to a YouTube channel before and I just subscribed to yours. I pray for your continued success!

    Numbers 6:24-26

    May The LORD bless you and protect you.
    May The LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.
    May The LORD show you His favor and give you His peace.

  36. I only just started therapy after years of ignoring the possibility of having PTSD. My therapist gave me a pamphlet on EMDR but it's really wordy and hard to understand so here I am! I've seen a few videos and articles on it, most of it seems pretty positive and at the very least harmless. This was a great video and I think I'll go ahead and try it, she really wants me to so… after this I feel a bit better with going that direction.
    I'll let you know how it went!

  37. I had EMDR therapy. It was really great for me. I ended up having disassociation and we had to keep me in the moment to be able to process my trauma, but it did work really well for me. I know it's supposed to be short term, but my therapy was over a year because I had a complicated trauma.

  38. I’m a very skeptical person so when my psychologist suggested EMDR I was hesitant but I trusted him and tried it. It worked wonders for my body image issues, eating disorder & overall self esteem (concerning my appearance). We used the tappers & long story short over many months I was able to reshape the way I thought people thought about me! I was basically constantly worried others were judging me. “What a (insert word) fatty, slob, loser, freak etc” He with the help of EMDR helped me see that just because I am hyper aware of my surroundings & others appearances doesn’t mean everyone else is. As painful as it was I also had to admit that I wasn’t ugly. I wasn’t fat. They were just lies I told myself. Now I’m just trying to work on my “inner self esteem” which is incredibly low. If only it didn’t seem so daunting. 😕 But Yes EMDR was a great tool for me for many issues & VERY relaxing. 👍🏻

  39. Thank you for the video. It was good to hear this information from a psychotherapist that is not a EMDR specialist or using it in practice.

  40. I did EMDR for 4 months, twice a week. My therapist and I broke down my trauma's by person and then covered one then the next and went from bad to worse. We joked about how out of all of them my mom took the longest. It took 1 session for my dad and 2 weeks for my mom lol!

  41. If I started to get very panicked or distraught in therapy my therapist would give me the little vibrating emdr things and have me take some deep breaths and it always calmed me down and helped my speak about what I needed to again.

  42. I've had EMDR treatment in the past, but I recently found a much more powerful way of using it. I would totally recommend anyone to explore EMDR. It can be used in positive, life affirming ways other than merely therapeutic ones.

  43. Thank you for explaining this style of therapy, It makes sense to me… I feel more empowered about this now that I have an understanding of how it works.

  44. I know a lady that says it got her through her severe trauma and she did quit drinking alcohol and partying which I think she typically did because of her trauma. She seems like a totally different and well adjusted person now. So who knows. I think Im going to suggest my brother does it.

  45. Kati, I subscribe and watch your videos weekly. I recently started brainspotting treatment for the trauma of my child's suicide. I get a lot of information out of your videos and I would like to request a video on the topic of brainspotting. Thank you for everything you do. 💙💜💙💜💙💜

  46. I’ve been through EMDR and it really helped. My therapist used back and forth movements with the fingers for me and then taught me as long as I feel safe and calm that I could do taping at home on myself and that (I feel) increased my ability to process it. I’m not sure i that’s advisable in all situations.

  47. I think the reason I suffer a bit more is because I don't hit REM during sleep. I have a sleep disorder sort of like narcolepsy so I rarely hit REM and when I do its for short periods of time. I'm wondering if maybe that is why I have such a hard time processing the painful things in my life. I just repress my feelings and try to bury them. My therapist wants to start EMDR next week with me.. I'm hoping this is finally what will give me my life back so I can feel happy again and not like I walk around with a dark cloud over me. I'm hoping and praying for a good outcome.. Thanks for sharing this information.

  48. My therapist wants to try this on me next week. I am looking forward to it. My mom had this done when it was new and she said it helped her a lot.

  49. Last session my therapist asked me if I would like to try this to help me work through some past things that are now really holding me back presently. I'd heard this term but had no idea what it was so I said sure because I trust her and am open to trying new therapies. Thank you for this video!

  50. Maybe I'm being harsh, but the fact she had to read from her notes what EMDR stands for doesn't fill me with confidence.

  51. This is my individual experience. I'm not discouraging anyone. EMDR for me was like a drug. Between sessions I would have panic attacks that lasted for hours at a time. Then as I continued I developed depression. Once the EMDR stopped I was fine. It caused so much grief and issues for me.

  52. EMDR therapy was The ONLY therapy that worked for me. For seven years I was inconsolable and obsessed with the untimely death of a loved one. Individual and group therapy didn't work, nor grief counseling. I was stuck in a never-ending cycle of guilt, anger, and depression. I realize now that I was keeping him alive in my mind 24/7 because it was too painful to accept that he was gone forever. It was exhausting and took a toll on all aspects of my life. I tried EMDR as a last resort, at the suggestion of my therapist. I'm happy to say that after six weeks and six sessions, it was a great success! EMDR changed my life. Please give it a try if all else has failed.

  53. So my husband recently had a sleep study. The doctor said he never entered REM the entire time. Could EMDR help him for that? He's had trauma all his life but my mom's death has made the biggest negative impact. He sleeps but gets no rest, ever.

  54. worked great for me. I told my wife i felt so good leaving those sessions and my level of anxiety considerably dropped. Such a great experience and the best part is you dont have to go through detail specific events if you are embarrassed earsily like me. I couldnt say better things about it.

  55. My therapist actually suggested that we do this for me. I feel more at ease now that I know what is involved in the process.

  56. My therapist thinks that this will help me. I've had really, really intense nightmares that feel so very real for over a year. We both agree that it is my brain trying to process the trauma with no outlet or guidance.

    The problem? There is the chance that the "bad" will be like a leaky faucet between sessions and with the holidays upon us, and her office will be closed a good bit, which is a problem incase I have a flash back that sends me into a crisis (as they have before).

    Here's hoping this works! Thanks Kati!

  57. I was very young when my first counselor used EMDR on me. I had no idea what it was and thought it was kind of silly.
    She sprung it on me after a couple sessions and I don’t even remember why she decided to try it with me.
    Now that I’m older, I feel like I want to try EMDR again to see if it will help me deal with childhood trauma I’m finally ready to face.

  58. Iv been doing emdr for a little over a year (I have severe cptsd amongst a lot of other mental disorders). I have found more help from emdr than from exposure therapy, or CBT or even just talk therapy. (Obviously if Iv had a bad week we can talk through other things.) But I have also found that it is exhausting. It is emotionally and physically draining. But its benefits have outweighed the exhaustion.

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