Myths about EMDR

Myths

There are lots of myths about EMDR that are simply not based on fact. Disturbingly, even professionals, some famous for their research in other therapeutic modalities are spreading rumours within the psychology community,as well as, down right myths about what exactly EMDR is and how it works. Here are some untruths I have heard:

Myth

” Its superstitious mumbo jumbo.”

Fact:

EMDR has over 21 outcomes studies that prove the efficacy of its treatment for PTSD

Fact:

The world health authority has deemed CBT and EMDR as the two best practice modalities for treating  PTSD. World Health Authority

Myth

The Eye Movement is unnecessary and therefore useless.

 Fact:

A study that came out in 2008 discounting the Eye Movement as being a necessary part of EMDR, has since been disputed. Read this  Research Article for more info. Some research has also been completed using other forms of bilateral stimulation such as tapping, holding tappers and binaural stimulation. These types of bilateral stimulation seem to work well and are offered as another type of bilateral stimulation.

Myth:

EMDR does not work for complex trauma.

Fact:

EMDR does work for complex trauma, however, because complex trauma is complex, it takes longer to treat than simple trauma. EMDR is an eight phase protocol, with phase two ( preparation stage)  sometimes taking up to a year or longer, in order to ensure that  a client is well prepared for the desensitization (phase four). Unfortunately there is little to no research that actually proves  that one treatment modality  can effectively treat complex trauma, however EMDR combined with other modalities has shown to be very helpful over time. Thanks to the EMDR research community, we know that EMDR surpasses other modalities in terms of research available on how to effectively treat complex trauma. Such research has shown how EMDR combined with other protocols like ego state, early trauma, hypnotherapy, DeTUR Urge, Feeling State protocol for addictions, and dissociative protocols work well in treating complex trauma.

Myth

EMDR is a technique that you can use whenever you want to but its not a therapy.

Fact:

EMDR is a therapy and not a technique. It is an eight phase protocol designed to factor in safety and preparation strategies to prepare clients for desensitizing disturbing memories. Using EMDR as a technique causes harm to clients because the counsellor assumes that phase four can be used on its own without taking the rest of the phases of EMDR into account. When used correctly, the entire eight phase protocol can take months to years of treatment.

Myth:

I can get EMDR for a few sessions and my life will be totally different.

Fact:

EMDR can change your life in extraordinary ways and its not a quick fix. While EMDR does help with eliminating triggers connected to traumatic events, it does not change things that are fact. In other words, if you have asthma, EMDR is not going to cure it.  While some people do benefit from EMDR very quickly, others will need to learn skills on how to cope with distress, as well as,  understand how to deal with activation (nervous system) without turning to dissociative behaviours such as substance use, cutting, any addiction, or eating disorders. This of course takes time and commitment on the part of the client.

Myth:

We don’t understand how EMDR works therefore, it must be bunk.

Fact:

If there was no research to prove the efficacy of this modality then of course we could conclude, ” its bunk.”  We also thought the world was flat until  it was discovered that in fact the world is round. There are many aspects of the brain that we never understood that we now understand and I think its a fair assumption to conclude that there is still so much more about the brain that we have yet to discover. So far EMDR is improving the quality of peoples lives, so for now  ….. lets go with that