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  • Writer's picturetraceymbrittain

Myth or truth? EMDR too soon after a trauma is bad


Is it true?

A prevailing myth which has been carried on for many years is that it is unwise to initiate Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy within the first few weeks of a traumatic event. This concept is based on the preconceived idea that if EMDR therapy is initiated soon after a traumatic event, it might be disturbing and overwhelming to the survivor, preventing them from healing in an effective and appropriate manner.


The real facts

The truth, however, is that the specific timing of EMDR therapy is not as important as its application and the skill and expertise with which it is conducted. If a patient is expressing signs and symptoms of post-traumatic distress, then EMDR therapy should be used. At this point, EMDR can be used as an effective and efficient way to help the patient move through their trauma to a better and more functional state of being.


When EMDR is used early on, the healing process can become faster and more efficient since the traumatic memory is still fresh in their minds, and the client does not have to comprehend what happened to them all over again. Instead, EMDR treatment can start at this stage and takes the patient through the healing process, one step at a time.


Skills needed

The skill and expertise of the treating clinician is fundamental to the process of EMDR. A knowledgeable, understanding, and supportive EMDR therapist will work at an appropriate pace with a client to help them resolve any uncomfortable emotions or sensations, without allowing them to become overwhelmed by the memory or experience. EMDR also provides the client with an active component that allows them to actively participate in a supportive and secure therapeutic environment, taking back control of their healing and empowerment.


Conclusion

In summary, EMDR should not be avoided due to myths surrounding initiating the therapy after a traumatic event. Instead, the therapeutic focus should be on how effective and correctly-implemented EMDR can be in assisting the survivor to navigate through their trauma in a therapeutic and secure environment. With the right professional help and care, EMDR can play an important role in facilitating healing and recovery from psychological trauma.

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