EMDR – Session 1 | What Was My First Session Like?

25 Jun

Today was my first EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Therapy) session. An introductory session, a teaser if you will. A little preview of the program.

I was pretty tired but decided to play along. I had done my homework and written down the most painful memory I had. Actually, I was feeling spunky with the Adderall so I wrote down 5.

It’s a nice number.


Notes from my first EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Processing Therapy) Session.

Notes from my first EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Processing Therapy) Session.

What is EMDR?

EMDR therapy is recognized as an effective form of trauma treatment. The founder, Francine Shapiro, was walking in the park thinking through some of her own distressing memories. As she watched the ducks going back and forth she realized that the side-to-side lateral eye movements seemed to decrease the negative emotion associated with the negative memories. She assumed that eye movements had a desensitizing effect, and when she experimented with this she found that others also had the same response to eye movements.


My therapist told me that Francine wondered if there were any other times in which lateral eye movement seemed to benefit people and she had an epiphany – REM sleep!

The rest is history.

I Told Him My Homework

Since I have my homework pictured above, I won’t reiterate it. How did I guess we were going to start with items 4 and 5? I should’ve known. If you care to read about these items, I wrote about them in a little more depth in a post entitled, Forgiving My Dad’s Anger. It may turn out to be a series, I’m not sure yet.

I Made An Island

When we started, my therapist gave me a pair of headphones and two small ovular items that fit in the palm of each hand and had cords that plugged into a base unit along with the earphones. I asked what the heck this was all about and he explained that I would hear beeps in the headphones that alternated between each side, and at the same time the units in my hand would vibrate in sync with the beeps I was hearing. This was supposed to replace me following his moving hand with my eyes, sort of like the cops do when you get pulled over for a sobriety check.

So now that the instrument explanation was over, he had me shut my eyes and explained that I would be making an island. This was to be my safe place where no one could harm me and the entire island was surrounded by a forcefield. He had me tell him what I saw as well as what I smelled, heard, and felt.

I told him I saw white sand (unlike the nasty brown stuff indigenous to this area that sticks to your skin) and that it was fine like powder. I heard waves, seagulls, the wind blowing through huge palm trees, and somewhere waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the recesses of my mind, a screecher monkey howling deep in the forest, haha.

For the next 5-7 minutes, with the headphones on and the buzzers buzzing, I had to imagine myself sitting in a recliner just enjoying my island.

Being mindul.

This is a technique we did in one of our NAMI meetings and is good for PTSD and those who suffer with anxiety. My girlfriend uses this in her DBT training as well.

How the Session Ended

So all that took about 45 minutes. We ended the session with him telling me that this would be a good practice for me to try. It slows the breathing and heart rate down and would do wonders to help me relax. He told me that when things got heavy (we would be “dredging” up a lot of old trees that had fallen and were buried deep) or too much, I would use this as my safe place until I came back down.

How Do I Feel About EMDR So Far?

I won’t lie, I’m a skeptic.

Even though it’s scientifically documented to be successful many times over, I am of the thinking that it’s a farce at this point.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to be open minded. But it’s going to take A LOT to get me on the other side of the fence.

Thank you so much for taking your time to read this post. I do appreciate it.

So what are your thoughts as readers? Have any of you undergone this type of therapy? Have you found it successful? Have you not? I’m looking forward to holding a dialogue with you in the Comments section. 


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19 responses to “EMDR – Session 1 | What Was My First Session Like?

  1. abbiegrrl

    06/28/2015 at 12:38

    Fwiw, I did EMDR for a while, trying to get path some ptsd triggers. To me, it’s a lot like hypnosis, which does not work for me. I hope you’re able to overcome thes issues, somehow. I’m sure you will.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Surviving the Specter

      06/28/2015 at 13:55

      That’s along the same line of things that I am thinking, abbie’. Friends swear it works so I’ll see how it goes and keep you posted. Thank you again for your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. houck52

    06/26/2015 at 15:48

    I have heard of this therapy before as it is used for children who have reactive attachment disorder…many children separated from their parents suffer from it. They have also shown studies where it is important for children to read books so that their eyes can practice the left to right eye movement as it helps the brain develop!
    Good luck with that therapy!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. KatieComeBack

    06/26/2015 at 15:33

    How interesting….your first two on the list are my first two. From there our paths diverge – and now they cross here. (whoa, deep.) 😀

    I treat with a naturopath – it feels a little hippie-dippie sometimes BUT IF IT HELPS I’LL TAKE IT and i don’t really care why. So I feel ya on the skeptical bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Surviving the Specter

      06/26/2015 at 15:51

      I’m sorry for your heartache, Katie’. I’m glad we can turn to each other for understanding. I’ve never tried naturopath before. Care to embellish?


      • KatieComeBack

        06/26/2015 at 15:53

        Yep. Essentially, it’s a holistic approach, and uses herbs and diet to heal.

        Here’s a link that explains it better:

        Insurance doesn’t pay – but my HSA does! And my appointments are 45 minutes to an hour – not 15 minutes as in managed care! So, at the very least – I’m HEARD. And it seems to be helping with my chronic recurrent mono….

        Liked by 1 person

  4. mistakenldy

    06/26/2015 at 09:43

    This post is awesome Specter. Thanks for sharing your experience. I too have done EMDR in the past. I was skeptical as well especially considering I was supposed to find a safe place and I have never, ever had one. Like you, my thoughts of a safe place were the beach, but for me it was listening to the waves crashing against the shore. The key to EMDR is being open minded and consistancy. Based on your post here, you’re off to a good start. It’s only the first session my friend 🙂 Your therapist is right, you will need this established safe place to be very grounded within you when things get rough. Digging deep into past traumatic experiences can be a roller coaster like no other. Keep going no matter what and you will find the peace to replace the anger within yourself you talk about having in your other posts. 🙂
    Prayers and positive wishes for your journey through this new experience! Hope you are having a good day! mistaken’ X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Surviving the Specter

      06/26/2015 at 15:55

      Thank you so much for your encouragement and thoughts, mistaken’. Yes, I will be open minded in my sessions. I’ve heard good things about it so far so stay tuned for future posts. X

      Liked by 2 people

  5. the-reluctant-parent

    06/26/2015 at 09:39

    That was an interesting read but what was more identifying in my case was the post on your dad’s anger.

    I got the belt I’m sure more than a couple of times but like yourself, I never saw that as abusive or anything because I know I had done things that warranted the punishment.

    I’ve heard of the shacras (I’m sure I’m not spelling it right) but I don’t know much about them, however, I do remember, when I was in graduate school, I was getting some counseling and we were talking about something pretty painful, I don’t remember what and she asked me to point to where I felt the most sensation at that moment and then she told me that where I had pointed was one of the seven shacras. We never talked about it much after that so I didn’t learn what the importance of these were. Time to consult google.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Surviving the Specter

      06/26/2015 at 16:08

      Thanks so much for your comments and for sharing a bit of your story, relunctant’. Yes, we may have to try the chakra “therapy”. I’m interested to hear if you experiment with it some more.


  6. dougspence2015

    06/25/2015 at 22:36

    It Works!! My therapist used this on me to get me past my molestation and all the trauma around it. We also used it to deal with some other problem areas from my past. I was a skeptic at first too but it was key to the growth I’ve had over the past four years. You have my number hit me up if you have any questions. This was a good read.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Surviving the Specter

      06/25/2015 at 22:40

      Thank you for your kind words, support and openness, Doug. I will stick with it then, my friend.


  7. coastal beach

    06/25/2015 at 21:25

    My psychiatrist recommended this but I can’t find a doctor who deals with insurance companies 😦
    Will follow along.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Surviving the Specter

      06/25/2015 at 21:36

      SO sorry to hear that coastal’. Thank you for following and for taking your time to comment, my friend. X


  8. morgueticiaatoms

    06/25/2015 at 20:38

    Sounds like an exercise they do in Scientology to “open” themselves up. I find it creepy but if it works…Do tell. I’m a step away from buying a crystal ball and getting my chakras aligned again so what do I know.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Surviving the Specter

      06/25/2015 at 20:43

      I tried the chakra thing. I didn’t stick with it though. Again, it comes off as a farce to me. But hey, I hear screecher monkies in the forest, what do I know?! Lmbo.



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