• EMDR therapy is not for everyone

    EMDR therapy is not for everyone. No single therapy is right for everyone.

    Nor is EMDR therapy right for every problem or in every situation.

    So, let’s go over some of the times when EMDR therapy may not be the right approach or tool.

    EMDR therapy cannot shortcut the grief processs. If you learned dysfunctional things about yourself or the world from the loss, EMDR therapy can help resolve that, but the process of mourning is something that must be experienced.

    EMDR therapy cannot be successful when the body and brain do not have enough fuel.

    Therefore, when someone has chronically reduced food intake so that their body is starving, such as in anorexia or times of extreme dieting or food scarcity.

    EMDR memory reprocessing should not be done with anyone who wants a guarantee about not getting into certain memories or experiences.

    EMDR reprocessing is an associative process, it’s all about allowing the brain to make the connections it needs to heal. So if you want to only focus on the present day depression, but not touch your childhood trauma, I cannot guarantee that your brain won’t go there.

    EMDR memory work shouldn’t be done when someone wants to retrieve specific memories or find the answers to what happened to them.

    We can often help people have a sense of their understanding of what happened to them, this does not mean we can promise it is a total or complete reflection of external reality.

    No type of therapy can promise to help someone remember specific things that have happened.

    Then there are ways of functioning by the brain that can make EMDR memory reprocessing very difficult or impossible.

    Some such situations are:

    • When a person cannot let go of control and follow where their brain leads 
    • When a person cannot tolerate body sensations 
    • When a person is actively on benzos or under the influence 

    And I want to point out that I did not put dissociation on this list of things that make EMDR therapy not a good fit.

    EMDR therapy and memory reprocessing can absolutely be done with dissociation, even with DID or OSDD.

    The important part is having a clinician who has been trained in how to deal with dissociation using EMDR therapy.