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How can you prepare for an EMDR session?

There are many different types of mental health treatment available, if you are struggling with mental problems. There are many mental problems and each problem needs its own treatment. One of these treatments is EMDR therapy. This is a relatively new kind of therapy, developed in 1989 by an American psychologist. When to apply EMDR therapy and how to prepare for an EMDR session?

The emergence of post-traumatic stress disorder

One of the best known and most common mental problems, are unprocessed traumas. These are not just events that happen in a person's life, but really situations that have an impact on everyday life. Think of a violent robbery, a serious accident, sexual abuse or the death of a family member. If you cannot put these events in perspective and the event keeps replaying in your mind, you will be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

Someone with PTSD can suffer from different types of symptoms. This depends entirely on your personality. Having a short fuse and sometimes even bursting into anger over nothing is a frequently heard symptom of PTSD. Another symptom of PTSD is participating less and less in society and shutting yourself up. This has everything to do with the fact that you want to avoid certain situations or locations. In this way you want to try not to be reminded of the traumatic event. Depression and social isolation are common symptoms for people with PTSD.

EMDR therapy for trauma treatment

EMDR is one of the most successful methods to combat the effects of PTSD. With EMDR the treatment is aimed at processing the trauma, which until then had not taken place. How exactly EMDR works in the brain is still the subject of scientific research. What has been scientifically proven is that EMDR is successful in processing trauma.

During an EMDR session, the therapist asks the client to think back to the trauma. This makes the session difficult, because this is exactly what you do not want with PTSD. This means that you relive the trauma, including all the feelings and thoughts you had at that moment. At a certain moment during the reliving, the therapist makes a hand gesture which you have to follow with your eyes and which distracts you. This is the basis of an EMDR session. Again and again you are distracted and at a certain moment you will notice that you can think back on the trauma much easier and with less emotion.

Nowadays, EMDR can also take place remotely. Psylaris is a developer of methods for remote EMDR, such as EMDR-VR. With this, you receive an EMDR session by means of virtual reality. EMDR-Remote is also a development of Psyslaris and is an online platform for the practitioner, through which EMDR is given via video calling. The main advantage of these digital methods is that the practitioner has more options for using distractions and that the distraction for the client is much more intense and effective.

Tips for preparing for an EMDR session

You will be nervous especially for a first EMDR session. After all, you will be confronted with the trauma again, but you may know that this is necessary to recover from PTSD and you will be in a safe environment.

The most important thing you need to arrange is as quiet a day as possible and possibly also in the days after a session. The therapy can have an impact and is tiring. Please indicate this also to your family and at work. Of course you cannot get out of work, but do indicate that your reaction to some things might be different.

Further preparation for an EMDR session is not really necessary. Let it come to you. Feel free to search online for information on what EMDR is, but let other people's experiences pass you by. Every experience is different. The chance is present that you will dread it even more (unnecessarily).

Are you going to follow an EMDR session remotely?

An EMDR session online, i.e. at a distance, does require a bit more preparation. This is mainly of a practical nature. For example, make sure that during the online EMDR session you are in a separate room where you will not be disturbed. This is important for the session to be successful.

Make sure that you follow the session remotely on a large screen of a PC or laptop and that the screen is at eye level, so that you can look at the therapist and are well distracted. Also make sure you have a good internet connection, after all, you don't want to be cut off during the session.

Use headphones or earphones to be able to follow everything and have a drink ready. Emotions or excessive talking can make you thirsty. Tissues can also be a useful aid when you become emotional.

Would you like to discuss further How can you prepare for an EMDR session? or other possibilities within the GGZ?

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