Every session in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is unique. The experience with this approach to therapy will be slightly different for everyone. After all, no one else has walked in your shoes before. But it’s normal to wonder what you’re supposed to focus on during EMDR.

If you’ve tried traditional talk therapy, you might be a little uncertain of your “role” throughout EMDR sessions or what you’re supposed to be doing while your therapist guides you.

While your therapist can provide more in-depth answers to questions like this, depending on your personal needs and goals, it never hurts to get a little more background information before your first session! Here are a few suggestions for areas to focus your attention on during EMDR.

Your Emotional Response to Your Target Memory

In a given session, your therapist will help you choose a target memory to focus on. Of course, it’s natural that you’ll have to keep some difficult events in mind throughout the session. However, you do not have to force yourself to recall and ruminate on every detail of the traumatic event.

Instead, try to turn your focus towards your initial emotional responses to bring up this memory. This will help you process the lingering tension that has remained with you since the event. You’ll also be able to reflect on how you felt after your session.

The Beliefs Associated with This Memory

One of the primary goals of EMDR involves changing the beliefs about yourself that you’ve developed since living through traumatic events. Trauma can have a dramatic impact on your self-perception and leave you holding on to negative beliefs.

As your therapist supports you throughout the session, consider which beliefs have stemmed from the trauma you’re reflecting on now. You do not have to dig too deeply into these beliefs, but you can share them with your therapist as they come up.

Your Physical Feelings

Why is EMDR such a powerful form of therapy for so many people, especially those who struggle to make progress in traditional talk therapy? EMDR addresses how trauma is stored in the body and provides individuals with a path to finally release this physical tension.

That’s why it’s so important to note any physical tension or uncomfortable sensations that you experience during sessions. Before closing out the session, your therapist will guide you through a body scan. That way, you can target these areas of discomfort and get back to a state of equilibrium.

The New Beliefs You Want to Adopt

In addition to letting go of negative beliefs that you’ve developed as a result of your trauma, EMDR also empowers you to embrace new beliefs that serve your wellbeing. Therefore, your therapist will help you reflect on the beliefs that you would prefer to associate with your memories. You may be able to write a new narrative of strength and survival in the face of adversity rather than self-blame.

Any Positive Sensations

Finally, don’t overlook any positive sensations or thoughts that occur during EMDR therapy. Sometimes, the healing process can feel like you’re taking one step forward and two steps backward. However, although it might take a little time before you leave a session feeling lighter, celebrating these moments is crucial.

Even if it’s just a fleeting moment of joy or contentment, embrace that sensation and take it as a sign that healing is possible.

Are you curious about pursuing EMDR therapy? Talking to a therapist can help you determine if this is the right approach for you. Reach out to us to learn more about our EMDR therapy services.



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