As a trauma therapist, I love using EMDR (Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to allow people to heal, process, and begin trauma recovery. It is a very effective therapy and I invite you to learn more about it here.
As you start using EMDR, your therapist will likely tell you to give yourself a little time after your session ends. I recommend blocking 30 minutes post session before you start moving into the rest of your day. The reason for this is that you are still processing even after the session ends. Some people describe feeling foggy or more sensitive- this may include emotionally but also physically. You may feel a heightened sensitivity to light or sound or just feel a little tired. Resting for a short period of time or perhaps going for a walk can allow you to refocus and shake that foggy feeling.
Some people also report things later on, maybe a new memory, or a dream. I recommend jotting it down so you can talk about it next session or using your “container”. A container can be real or imagined. You could keep a box, write down the thought and put it away inside. The imagined version might be to think of an actual container – like a safe or a vault – where you can imagine locking those thoughts away. Make sure your container is strong enough so those thoughts stay there until it’s appropriate to come back to them. After you have those thoughts contained, take a few moments to imagine being in a peaceful place. Focus on belly breathing while you imagine what you’re seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting in your peaceful place. For those who don’t like using a container, try distraction instead.
Tips, tricks, and distractions post EMDR include:
- Drink lots of water.
- Get to bed at a reasonable time.
- Feeling extra emotional? Put on your favorite record, take a minute to breathe deeply, watch a movie, take a bath. Do something that you enjoy and find relaxing.
- Try a 5 senses mindfulness activity. Drink a really cold glass of water and feel it go down your throat.
- Do a grounding exercise.
- Try yoga: I recommend Yoga with Adrienne-try this one that is specific to trauma recovery.
- I’m Aware: For this exercise, pick a color and look around wherever you are, then say out loud all the things you see that are that color. The out loud part is key. You are able to have many thoughts at once in your mind, saying it out loud brings focus and truer attention to what you are doing and is more mentally grounding.