EMDR is my favourite therapy of all time. It’s super quick, super effective and extremely versatile. I have seen the most dramatic changes in the space of 90 minutes. And it never ceases to amaze me.
EMDR is essentially a trauma therapy and it does to give the most dramatic results when used with trauma. But EMDR can operate in a much more subtle way.
Just last week I EMDR’d a lovely man (I can’t tell you who he is or I’d have to kill you). He’d had a business fail in the GFC. Even though he was quite confident of making his new venture a success, he still had this underlying anxiety. He woke with it most mornings. Not in a sweat, freaking out about his future. Just a tightness in the stomach and a fairly steady worry about money because his supply was somewhat limited.
Because he had a theme of talking about failure, we explored some other times where he felt as though he hadn’t succeeded or felt that he had failed. And then we EMDR’d him for the fear of never being successful.
Not much happened. Some stuff shifted in the session but it certainly wasn’t the fireworks and elation I’ve had with people I’ve EMDR’d for trauma. I wondered if it had worked. I don’t like it when my work doesn’t work so I kept checking in with him.
Here’s what he described over the days following the session:
Day 1 He hadn’t felt as anxious.
Day 2: He felt much more optimistic about his future and his new venture.
Day 3: He was feeling as excited about his new venture as he had about the previous one that had failed. The one that he had believed was going to set the world on fire. This was the first time he’d felt like this about the new venture. People started commenting that he looked different but couldn’t say why.
He didn’t feel very different but the way he was thinking about things was different.
It wasn’t dramatic. It wasn’t a complete contrast from unrelenting fear to total relief. You would probably even struggle to explain what exactly had changed. But something had. And it made his life so much better.
So once again I am grateful for having found this wonderful therapy. Even when it does work in subtle ways.