What To Expect In An EMDR Therapy Session

What To Expect In An EMDR Therapy Session

Congratulations if you are about to begin counseling and EMDR therapy! Whether you are meeting with a member of our clinical team at Guided Wellness in St. George UT or another EMDR trauma therapist there are certain commonalities you’ll find in your experience.

EMDR therapy is going to put you in the driver’s seat of your healing and recovery. While your therapist will be with you every step of the way one of the things we love about EMDR is how empowered our clients feel as sessions progress. So let’s get you prepared and ready to go! Here’s what you should come to expect in your EMDR counseling sessions.

EMDR Therapy Sessions Are Predictable

One of the things we love about EMDR is it’s predictability. Now, I like spontaneity and adventure in my personal life. But when times are hard and you’re facing some pain or vulnerability in your therapy sessions it’s nice to know what to expect. With EMDR there are no curve balls. No surprises from your therapist. This is especially important for those prone to anxiety and panic attacks or PTSD symptoms.

Many clients report that they like the flow of their EMDR sessions and that the routine of these sessions also helps them measure the progress they are making. The predictability creates a sense of safety and trust in therapy. That’s important when you’re dealing with heavy emotional issues like trauma or PTSD, depression or anxiety. If the idea of beginning EMDR is scary and puts you on edge, rest assured that EMDR will become as familiar as the back of your hand.

EMDR Treatment Is Simple

I’ve often been asked, “What am I supposed to do in my therapy sessions?” With EMDR, the answer is easy. You and your therapist will come up with a specific plan of what exactly you’re going to focus on. Maybe it’s the memories of childhood sexual abuse. Perhaps it’s a recent car accident. Are you struggling to get your footing after your divorce or other life transition? Together you’ll briefly review your experience and identify the part needing relief.

Then, your job is to “just notice” your reaction to:
● Thoughts about yourself or life experience
● Feelings / Emotions (sadness, anger, relief, joy)
● Body sensations (tearful, tightness in the chest, etc)
You’ll share your observations with your therapist. For example, as you notice a knot in your stomach and engage in EMDR eye movements you’ll be encouraged to “go with that….” to allow the sensation to be present so that it can resolve. There are certainly nuances to this but they are better experienced in person than in a blog.

The important point here is that in EMDR therapy we take the time to simply notice our reaction and relationship to the trauma, depression and anxiety. When we do this and we add in other EMDR practices (like eye movements or tapping) we can move past the things that once held us back.


Releasing The Effects Of Stress On The Body

Have you ever thought one thing in your head and felt another thing in your body? Like knowing in your head that you’re prepared for a task at work… but still having a knot in your stomach. Or knowing that a loss was “for the best”… but still being tearful about it?

It’s important to honor how our body feels. It’s a big deal! EMDR therapy integrates this body awareness into your recovery from depression, anxiety and trauma. That body talk just may be the missing piece in your recovery! Our clients who live in fear being overcome with an anxiety attack or panic attack find this experience especially liberating.

Healing From Emotional Trauma

Sometimes difficult things happen that we can’t change. “Ya can’t change the past,” as they say. But we can change our insight and our understanding. We can gather information, look from a different perspective and feel the support of others who care for us now. EMDR therapy allows us to do this.

Our clients tell us that this change in perspective is so meaningful. I hear things like, “I’ll always be hurt that this bad thing happened to me, but now I know it wasn’t my fault. I can feel in my body that I’m safe now.”

Certainly, we can’t travel back in time and remove the bad things that happened. And I don’t think there is a point in sugar coating what happened. But when we add EMDR to counseling sessions the insight that can be found is truly life changing.

Learn More About EMDR From Real Clients

The Effect Of Trauma On Relationships

Trauma can have an undeniable effect on relationships. Especially if you’ve experienced betrayal trauma or sexual abuse. We may have experienced things that, later on, we take out on other people through no fault of their own. In addition to this we might:
● act out old patterns
● feel triggered unnecessarily
● carry fears with us that we’ll be hurt or betrayed
● believe that no one could love us
● struggle to feel safe (despite a real threat of harm

EMDR can improve your relationships by cleaning up the past so that you’re no longer laying that past stuff over present interactions. We call this “desensitization” and “reprocessing” (that’s the D and the R in EMDR). Your past does not have to define your current relationships. You can put the past where it belongs – in the past.

Treatment For All Your PTSD Symptoms And Struggles

Do you want a golden nugget of advice? Start to notice these three things: your thoughts, your feelings, your body. They are speaking to you all the time. All. The. Time. And they might not be saying the same thing. Your head might be saying, “Go!” while your heart and your body are screaming, “Stop!” EMDR therapy helps to reconcile these three parts.

When we are recovering from depression, anxiety or trauma / PTSD we have to attend to our whole self. It’s not enough to just change your mind. The holistic approach that EMDR takes is part of what makes it so effective. You are treated as a whole person (head, heart and body) from the first step. You deserve nothing less.

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Therapy is hard work. The team at Guided Wellness feels so honored that our clients have chosen us to share their story. And yet, sometimes clients have things that are just too hard to say out loud. They aren’t ready. And that’s okay. With EMDR therapy you don’t have to tell us every last detail of how you were hurt or what happened. We need to know enough to guide the process but there is a generous amount of privacy that can be allowed in EMDR. For some, there is a great comfort in knowing that they can move to a level of vulnerability and openness that feels safest for them.

The process all starts with a free, 15 minute phone consultation with our practice manager. You can call us now or book your phone consultation for later. She’ll learn a little more about what has you interested in counseling, answer all your questions and set you up with the best counselor for your needs and schedule.

From there, you’ll attend your first appointment, called an Intake. You and your counselor will review your history and begin to identify goals to work on. Then, the healing begins! Never forget that you are in charge of your healing process and that this healing – it’s your birthright. Is now the time for you to begin?


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Guided Wellness Counseling

Healing Depression, Anxiety, and Trauma in St. George and all of Southern Utah.

EMDR Therapy and EMDR Consultation Services.

720 South River Road Suite E 103, St. George, UT 84790