10 Common Myths Debunked About EMDR Therapy

April 19, 2024

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a therapeutic approach that has gained recognition for its efficacy in treating a range of conditions, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, it remains shrouded in misunderstanding and misconceptions, which contribute to its misperception by the general public and even some within the mental health field. This article aims to debunk common myths and shed light on the truths surrounding EMDR therapy, addressing why it is often misunderstood. 

While initially developed to address PTSD, EMDR's applications extend to conditions like anxiety, depression, and specific phobias. Contrary to the belief that it offers a quick fix, EMDR follows a structured therapeutic process and requires time for processing and integration. The eye movements integral to EMDR are not mere gimmicks but play a vital role in the therapy's success. It doesn't erase memories but helps reduce the distress associated with traumatic ones. Far from being unscientific, EMDR boasts extensive research support and recognition by reputable organizations. Self-administration is discouraged, emphasizing the need for trained therapists. Beyond eye movements, EMDR encompasses multiple phases of therapy. Despite involving the recall of distressing events, it aims to reduce, not retraumatize. EMDR's longevity is well-established, debunking the notion that it's a passing trend. Lastly, proper EMDR therapy requires extensive training and certification, dispelling the idea that it can be mastered quickly. In this comprehensive guide, we address these myths and unveil the truth about EMDR's transformative potential in the world of mental health.

Myth: EMDR is only for treating PTSD.

Truth: While EMDR was initially developed to treat PTSD, it has since been effectively used for various conditions like anxiety, depression, and specific phobias.

Myth: EMDR therapy is a quick fix.

Truth: EMDR can be more rapid than some traditional forms of therapy, but it's not an instant solution. It requires a proper therapeutic process and time for processing and integration.

Myth: The eye movements in EMDR are just a gimmick.

Truth: The bilateral stimulation (including eye movements) used in EMDR is a core part of the process. It's believed to help with the brain's processing and integration of traumatic memories.

Myth: EMDR erases bad memories.

Truth: EMDR does not erase memories. It helps reduce the distress associated with traumatic memories, making them less overwhelming.

Myth: EMDR therapy is unscientific.

Truth: EMDR is backed by extensive research and is recognized as an effective treatment by organizations like the American Psychological Association and the World Health Organization.

Myth: EMDR can be self-administered.

Truth: EMDR is a complex therapeutic approach that requires guidance by a trained and licensed therapist. Self-administration is not recommended.

Myth: EMDR therapy is only about eye movements.

Truth: EMDR therapy involves a structured approach that includes phases of history taking, preparation, assessment, treatment, and evaluation, not just eye movements.

Myth: EMDR therapy is overly distressing and re-traumatizing.

Truth: While EMDR involves recalling distressing events, it's done in a safe, controlled manner aimed at reducing, not exacerbating, trauma.

Myth: EMDR is a fad therapy with no long-term benefits.

Truth: EMDR has been practiced for over three decades, with numerous studies showing its long-term effectiveness.

Myth: Anyone can perform EMDR after a quick training.

Truth: Proper EMDR therapy requires a therapist to be extensively trained and certified. It's not a technique that can be mastered in a short period or without proper training and supervision.

At Soho Integrative Psychological Services, we understand the true potential of EMDR in transforming lives and enhancing mental well-being. Our approach integrates EMDR seamlessly into our therapeutic practices, recognizing its versatility beyond PTSD treatment. We emphasize the importance of a structured therapeutic process, dispelling the notion of a quick fix, and provide a safe and controlled environment for individuals to engage with their traumatic memories. The bilateral stimulation, including eye movements, is harnessed as a vital component of EMDR's efficacy. We emphasize that EMDR doesn't erase memories but reduces their distressing impact. 

Our practice aligns with the extensive scientific research supporting EMDR, and our therapists are trained and certified to deliver this specialized treatment. We appreciate that EMDR is a comprehensive approach, encompassing multiple therapy phases beyond eye movements, and that it promotes healing and resilience, and is far from retraumatizing. We recognize that EMDR is a reputable, evidence-based therapy with long-term benefits, available to those who seek comprehensive, professionally guided treatment.

Our trauma experts
April 19, 2024