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What to Expect After Your First EMDR Session

So you're about to start EMDR therapy. You might be feeling one or more of these things: nervousness, fear, excitement, curiosity, dread.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a powerful and effective treatment approach for individuals dealing with trauma, anxiety, and other mental health challenges. After completing an EMDR session, it's essential to understand what to expect in the hours, days, and weeks that follow. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the post-EMDR experience, focusing on the potential emotional responses and self-care strategies to support your healing journey.

Initial Feelings of Relief
Immediately following an EMDR session, many individuals report a sense of relief. They may feel lighter, as if a heavy burden has been lifted. This initial feeling of relief is a positive sign that the therapy is beginning to work, but it's only the beginning of the healing process.

Increased Awareness
EMDR therapy can bring up intense emotions and memories. In the days following a session, you may find that you're more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. This increased self-awareness is a natural part of the healing process, allowing you to better understand your reactions and triggers.

Processing Emotions
As you continue with EMDR therapy, it's common to experience waves of emotions. You may have intense feelings, including sadness, anger, or anxiety, as you work through past traumas. This emotional processing is a critical part of healing and may continue for some time after sessions.

Dreaming and Flashbacks
It's not uncommon to experience vivid dreams or flashbacks after an EMDR session. These dreams and memories are often part of the brain's natural processing of traumatic material. While they can be distressing, they are usually a sign that your brain is actively working to reprocess and integrate the traumatic experiences.

Changes in Perspective
Over time, you may notice changes in how you perceive your past experiences and traumas. EMDR can help individuals shift from feeling helpless or victimized to feeling empowered and resilient. This change in perspective is a positive outcome of the therapy.

Self-Care Is Vital
Self-care is crucial after an EMDR session. Be gentle with yourself and prioritize activities that nurture your well-being. This might include meditation, journaling, spending time in nature, or engaging in creative pursuits. Avoid overwhelming yourself with stressors, and don't hesitate to lean on your support network.

Continuing the Journey
EMDR therapy is typically not a one-session solution. It often requires multiple sessions to address and reprocess complex trauma or mental health issues fully. Be patient with the process and trust your therapist's guidance.

Communicate with Your Therapist
Your EMDR therapist is your partner in this healing journey. If you experience intense emotions, flashbacks, or any distressing side effects, it's essential to communicate openly with your therapist. They can provide guidance, support, and techniques to help you manage these experiences effectively.

After an EMDR session, you may experience a range of emotions and changes as part of your healing process. Remember that healing is a journey, and it may take time. By prioritizing self-care, staying in close communication with your therapist, and being patient with yourself, you can navigate the post-EMDR experience with resilience and hope. EMDR therapy has the potential to bring profound healing and transformation to your life, and you are taking a courageous step towards a brighter future.


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