Hi all, I'm just wondering if anyone here has been treated with EMDR for any reason and what you thought about it's effectiveness?

I'm a 49 year old with the usual junk you get rolling round your head at our age and recently I was referred for some sessions, although I have only had three so far I am finding them hard work, they do get you remembering certain things I had locked away but I seem to get to a certain point and then I get stuck, I also find them pretty tiring and I'm not much use for anything for a day or two afterwards, nothing new there though lol.

I'm just trying to get an idea of whether eventually it will be as helpful as I've been led to believe or do I need to look for some alternative, thanks.
I can't comment on whether it's of benefit for you personally or not for obvious reasons. I'm EMDR trained and aware that it isn't always suitable for everyone, for a number of reasons. It would be worth discussing your concerns (if you haven't done so already) with both your therapist and whoever it was who referred you.

It does work for a large number of people and it's the only therapy other than cognitive behavioural therapy that's recommended by NICE but there isn't a therapy out there yet that's suitable for all sadly.

Good luck and I hope you find something that helps you if it isn't EMDR.


Can I give you my two penneth? This is what Combat Stress says about EMDR or NICE offers this . In no way am I a qualified therapist (only counselling skills level 2) nor am I qualified to give you advice even with a level 3 IAG. So I aint qualified at all. From personal experience, I think it's a minefield, which can only be approached on assessment of your needs/wants and your personal circumstances, plus the most appropriate clinical support . As psychobabble says, it is what works for you. It can be a long and troublesome private journey and you might follow your own instincts, making sure you're getting the maximum benefit out of any treatment, with the least damage.

Hats off to you for biting the bullet, mate. Takes balls. One step at a time. Look after yourself.
Cheers guys, I spoke with the therapist before we went down this route which was suggested after a couple of preliminary sessions and I said that I would try it and see how we go, I find 90 minutes of it pretty tiring and as I said I'm finding I am getting stuck at the same point at the moment but that might change I guess as I take my next weekly session?

Like a lot of people I have been just getting on with it for years but I knew that it was time to go chat with someone and see if they could free up some of this space in my head that I use to keep lids on boxes (sounds weird I know) and they seem to think that based on previous experience this is the best treatment, I am going to keep my appointments and see if something kicks in at some point and gets me to move through the bits I'm stuck on, thanks again.
Hi there,

Found this thread after searching on Google for some advice/reassurance regards EMDR. My other half had a particularly bad tour in Iraq when they were being mortared many many times on a daily basis and he like many others saw some horrific things and also came very close himself to being injured. He then came back off tour and was posted immediately to a new unit so never had the time to unwind or shake off the tour with the others he had experienced it with as he wasn't even able to take POTL. I feel that this would have been a really important time for him as the only people who could ever begin to understand how he must have been feeling would have been his mates.

He has never been able to really open up about any of the things he saw and I would never push him but after over a year of what would seem like classic symptoms of PTSD he finally reluctantly went to see someone. He was diagnosed with PTSD and had two episodes of different treatments. The last treatment he had was EMDR which I know very little about but after the sessions he found himself getting extremely angry and short fused and he really didn't like it so he opted to end the sessions. I was pregnant at the time and he was aware that his whole outlook and demeanour had changed and he was worried about the effect on me and didn't want to be angry or aggressive around a new baby.

This was some 2 years ago and since then I have felt that he has become more and more distant with his emotions and feelings and I have put that down to the fact that he may not be happy in our relationship. Never did I assume that this may have anything to do with PTSD. However I recently called an end to things as I felt as though we were plodding and I could sense he wasn't happy which in turn has made me unhappy. Three days after he moved out he said something which shocked me beyond belief. He told me that he is so numb that he feels nothing. He's sure he loves me and our daughter and he knows he wants to be with us but he says he couldn't even feel upset when he thought about us not together anymore. Then out of the blue he said in explicit detail that someone could tell him to his face that our 2 year old little girl had walked into the road and had been horrifically killed in a horrible accident and he knew without doubt that he wouldn't be openly upset. He says he would just know that he should feel something but that he wouldn't know how. I can't for a second comprehend how its possible to not feel anything about your own flesh and blood but I understand EMDR works by desensitizing the person hopefully taking away the symptoms of PTSD.

He no longer has the flashbacks or the mood swings and he sleeps much better. He's managed to curb his drinking (as much as any squaddie could lol) but this whole lack of emotion is scarey. I can't judge his moods as he always seems flat and his outlook is neither positive or negative. He has no passion or get up and go in him and it feels as though he is happy to just let life pass him by.

Sorry for the long post but can anyone tell me if this is a normal side effect or reaction to the EMDR sessions? If it is, is it possible to get back to normal or is that person gone for good.

I appreciate that many many soldiers suffer in silence and opt not to seek treatment and I understand how hard it must have been to go against the done thing and ask for help but he's refused any type of medication which has been suggested a few times and he has refused to go back to counselling as he feels it would negatively affect his career. I just want my man laid back, loving, easy going man back but I don't know if its at all possible.

Cheers for reading,

Wow... I’m really sorry I missed this thread originally. I’ll try to respond as best I can, but without giving a wall of text.

To Double Duck, I hope you’re managing to persevere with the EMDR. I was treated with EMDR for PTSD and related depression. I found that for the day or two before each weekly session, I would become withdrawn and very moody, and it would take me a couple of days afterwards to come back down. Each session was exhausting emotionally and physically, and on one occasion I was so disturbed by things it enabled me to remember that I actually threw up in mid-session. Luckily, I’d made it to the bin first. Sometimes I found myself fixating about something over several sessions and just couldn’t seem to find a way through things. I thought about giving up once or twice because if screwed me up so bad before and after.

Suddenly, in about the 8th session, something just clicked. And it was almost that profound. I made a connection in my mind, and was suddenly crying my heart out ( even more so than I had previously ). After that I had a really weird few days where my mind was a jumble, and gradually it faded away and things became more rational. I remembered things that I wasn’t even aware had happened, and I could think about them without getting all psycho. I was no longer so jumpy, nor so angry, and even the paranoia was dialled right back. As an example of how it helped, it revealed a long hidden memory of something that is at the root cause of my habit of washing my hands all the time and not wanting to eat unless I’m sure they’re clean. Once I realised the cause, the compulsion seemed to disappear too. I’m pretty much happy with them however they are no so long as they’re not covered in shite ;)

2 years later, there’s no sign of going backwards. I think I was extremely lucky. For me, it seems to have been a silver bullet. The hardest thing I’ve found is to work out exactly what “normal” is... What level of angry is normal when I’m dealing with the kids ( can tell you it’s a LOT less than it used to be ), what level of “feeling down” is normal... All in all, I try to take things as they come now. I’m better than I used to be and I cant express how thankful I am about that. Good luck, and I hope you find the effort pays off in time.

To Nik Nik... Please read above... that’s my personal experience. How EMDR was explained to me is that it makes connections between suppressed memories in the primitive part of the brain and the part where memories should be stored and process. Because they’re in the primitive part you often don’t even realise that they are there, but they trigger all the appropriate reactions from the time of the original event. It doesn’t desensitise you per se to everything. More it makes you able to process things logically rather than in an emotional and physical reaction to it. For me, my memories of the events are still unpleasant and I don’t like them, but they don’t make my jumpy, depressed, paranoid, angry etc... they’re just unpleasant memories that I can consciously decide not to dwell on, rather than having no choice because it’s subconscious.

So, to answer your question, and bearing in mind I’m not a therapist or psychologist, but speaking from personal experience, I’d say that his reactions to the therapy were normal in that it’s not pleasant having EMDR so it would be unusual to look forward to it. It did take me a few days to come down after each session. Before and after each session I was hard to live with. However, it does sound to me that he is currently still suffering, which is not likely to be as a result of the EMDR but as a result of the original diagnosis of PTSD. Lack of emotion is one of the side effects of both PTSD and Depression, so it could be either / or / both. He needs proper help to get him through this. He and you need to understand it can be a long hard road to travel in the search for something that can make life bearable and manageable. I wish you both all the very best, and the strength to keep stepping forwards when all you want to do is quit.

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