(I'm bringing this 2006 thread back to the top rather than starting a new one.)
My therapist and I did EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) last week to try to address some of my health anxiety. She had not suggested this technique earlier as it is mostly used to treat PTSD. Here's how it worked for me:
She had me put on headphones (rather than using my eyes) where the sound switched back and forth from the left ear to the right to what seemed like stereo sometimes. I wasn't concentrating on that, but could tell that it was happening when I first put the phones on. The idea is that the brain forms connections between the its two sides and that these new connections help to process traumatic memories in new ways that are presumably helpful.
Anyhow, we started with me describing a particular memory that provokes my HA (so this seems very much like what someone with PTSD would need). Then, she told me to just hold that memory and "whatever happens, happens." Every few minutes, she would check in with me (we were seated in the same room the whole time) and ask me what I was experiencing. I discovered that the EMDR sensation really enhanced my ability to be "mindful": that is, I could more easily just accept that I was having a certain thought or feeling or bodily sensation without my usual habit of analyzing why I was having it. *THAT* was certainly different for me. We did this for 30-40 minutes: me just letting my thoughts, feelings, and body sensations wander as they would, and her checking with me (and taking notes) every 5 minutes or so.
When we finished, she said I might have strange dreams or other odd things because my brain would still be processing. I haven't, but maybe that's because I'm not PTSD, and the memory wasn't really very different from many others about
HA (and not all that traumatic). We meet again tomorrow, and she said we'd start by seeing where I was with the memory.
I hope this descript
ion helps others understand more what EMDR feels like. I don't know yet whether it is helping me with my health anxiety, but I don't think we're done yet.
Hugs to all,
Co-Moderator, Anxiety and Panic Forum
DX: Anxiety, Depression, LPR (acid reflux)
Meds: Paxil, Nexium, Zantac