Wednesday, September 14, 2011

EMDR as a treatment for PTSD. My experience with EMDR therapy for post traumatic stress disorder.

In my struggle with PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder, I tried many different therapies and several combination of these different therapies. I was overmedicated for many years as I tried to get back to whatever normal is or was. One of the more interesting therapies that I tried is called EMDR therapy. EMDR therapy is a new approach to PTSD therapy. I would say it was rather conventional compared to the other therapies that were performed on me by the VA and private doctors. I should point out that I was given this therapy by a private doctor because at the time, the Veteran's Administration was not offering this therapy. EMDR reminds me of hypnosis in some ways. The therapists spends a couple of sessions collecting information on the traumatic event. The patient tells the story of the traumatic event a few times and this will typically create a visible emotional response that the therapists takes note of. During the telling of the traumatic event the patient is stopped at some point and instructed to focus on the finger of the therapist. The finger of the therapist waves in a fan like motion with alternating speed. Then the finger is stopped from motion and the focus of the patient is broken from the exercise. Somehow, this causes the mind of the patient to reprocess the traumatic or difficult event. It is as if the mind relabels the event as non-traumatic or not-so-disturbing.

I found this type of therapy very effective. Although it appears like some kooky hypnotic trick, it actually does work according to my experience. I remember being put into a strange daze as I followed the finger of the therapist. His finger would alternate speeds and make me dazed a little further. I found the experience to be quite surreal but the proof was in the pudding. I felt great in the weeks following the therapy and noticed near instant change in my intrusive thoughts regarding the event. I feel that this therapy combined with more traditional techniques will produce positive result in patients with post traumatic stress disorder. I can't recommend it enough and I think that all patients should at least give this therapy a try if it is available. Some VA clinics and hospitals do have therapist trained in this new technique. If this is something you would like to try, ask your doctor about it and let me know if it helps you too!


  1. Outstanding blog site, John! I'm extremely impressed with all of the work I know goes in to such an attractive web site.

    Your writing is excellent, succinct and from the heart. I, for one, appreciate that style. If your work here helps just ONE Veteran, it will have been 100% successful.

    Welcome Home, Brother!
    Dell Hill

  2. Thanks so much Dell. I hope I can help's a tough world.

    I appreciate your visit and look forward to reading your writing. Have a good one brother!

  3. Great post. I look forward to reading more! I'm also considering asking our Dr about EMDR.

  4. Chrissy,
    I think EMDR helped me more than any medicine did. I have been in therapy for 8 years and I have been off meds for the last year. It's been a rough time getting adjusted to life off of meds but I am starting to feel significantly better.

    By all means, talk to your doctor about EMDR.

  5. Thanks so much! I hope that some of my experiences will inspire others to get help for PTSD and other emotional issues. It's unfortunate that veterans have to come home from the fight only to fight emotional problems everyday.

  6. Thanks for this post - this is great description. With you permission, I would like to link this to our facebook page:

  7. Please use any of my writings as you wish. I would appreciate a link back to the article for search engine reasons. Please connect with the Veterans Guide on facebook too. I just got a page put up...there isn't much on it yet but there will be.

    Thank you!


Popular Posts