Perhaps you’ve heard about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for trauma, and you’re curious about the benefits. But you might be hesitating to seek out an EMDR therapist because you’re not sure whether you would be a great candidate. You may have read that you need to remember your trauma clearly in order to process it during sessions. However, this is a common misconception about EMDR therapy.
If your memories of your trauma feel vague and fuzzy, you can still benefit greatly from EMDR. Here’s why EMDR can still be a great choice for people who struggle to remember their trauma and how your therapist can support you through this process.
Your Therapist Is Prepared
Rest assured that every therapist who specializes in EMDR has worked with clients who do not clearly remember their trauma. This is fairly common, and all therapists who apply this methodology have experience supporting clients who have been in your shoes before. Many trauma survivors try to avoid thinking about their experiences or suppress the details as a protective mechanism.
Your therapist will not prompt you to describe false memories or stretch the truth of your recollections. Instead, they’ll help guide you based on the details you do remember and use different tools like specific phrases, sounds, and images to help improve your recall.
Don’t Worry About Perfect Accuracy
Your therapist does not expect you to remember all of your traumatic experiences with crystalline detail. It’s okay if your memories feel somewhat foggy. All you need is a starting point. You can start by describing what you remember, and as you go through EMDR sessions, you might be surprised by how much you can recall.
EMDR Doesn’t Center Around Talk Therapy
Many people find EMDR appealing specifically because they do not have to describe every aspect of their traumatic experiences out loud. Instead, they can give their therapist a more general idea of their personal history. This is distinct from talk therapy, which centers around more in-depth conversations about your experiences and your symptoms.
Thankfully, this also means that you can still benefit greatly from EMDR, even if you’re having trouble remembering your trauma. Your sessions will revolve around processing your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations rather than analyzing specific details of your memories.
Remember, You’re Not On A Schedule
Yes, lots of people turn to EMDR because they hope they will be able to make progress on a shorter timeline than if they pursued traditional talk therapy. But remember, you are not on a schedule when it comes to therapy. It’s okay if you need to spend a little more time working with your therapist than you anticipated. This time investment is well worth it to build a brighter future. Be patient with yourself as you work through sessions, and keep in mind that there are no time limits on your treatment.
You Can Still Find Relief
You might assume that if you can’t remember your trauma easily, you might not find much relief through EMDR. But your healing potential does not depend on the clarity of your memories. Lots of people who have tried to suppress or forget their trauma make great progress through EMDR. Simply put, there isn’t a strict correlation between having clear memories and finding relief through EMDR. If you’re committed to the process, you’ll almost certainly notice a reduction in your symptoms and see an improvement in your quality of life.
Are you wondering whether EMDR is right for you? Bringing your questions to a therapist can help. Reach out to us to discuss your options for scheduling your first session for trauma therapy.