eye with 2 fingers indicating EMDR therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of therapy commonly used to treat varying forms trauma as well as some other mental health diagnoses. It requires specialized training to be able to be administered by a licensed therapist. As this treatment has been gaining popularity, various EMDR myths have emerged that we will debunk in this article.

Myth: EMDR is a type of hypnosis

Reality: EMDR has nothing to do with hypnosis and at no point will you enter a trance like state. You will be fully conscious, awake and in control of your thinking and actions during an EMDR therapy session. Your therapist will use bilateral stimulation in the form of tapping or eye-movements to aid in the trauma healing process.

Myth: EMDR is a “quick-fix” therapy

Reality: EMDR is not a short or easy therapy. A single session can last from 60-90 minutes. There are 8 distinct phases of therapy and it can take 8-12 sessions to address a single traumatic incident. Most people are not only coming in to address 1 single traumatic episode.

Myth: EMDR is only used to treat trauma

Reality: While EMDR is most commonly used to treat PTSD, it can also be used to treat depression, anxiety, phobias and panic attacks.

Myth: EMDR has no Research to support it

Reality: EMDR is a highly empirically supported treatment with a large amount of research including over 20 randomized studies that support its efficacy in treating trauma.

Myth: EMDR cannot be performed virtually

Reality: Prior to the pandemic, EMDR was usually performed in person between the therapist and the patient but since the pandemic that started in 2020, EMDR is now regularly and successfully performed via telehealth therapy with some minor adjustments.

Myth: Any therapist can perform EMDR

Reality: As this is a standardized treatment, a therapist needs specialized training to effectively administer EMDR therapy. Most EMDR therapists have at least 2 full weeks of intensive training in the modality as well as a few years supervision before they are a fully qualified EMDR therapist.

If you’re interested in EMDR therapy , our EMDR therapists in Chicago can help. Contact us today to set up a therapy appointment.

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