EMDR is a great tool and therapy I have discovered a few years ago.
Research has shown that it calms the amydala, the fight-or-flight region of the brain. See research below.
You can use bilateral eye movements to simply calm down.
But you can use it with a script to process painful memories.
You might want to do a few sessions with a therapist to understand the principles of it.
But it can be self administered using a object (ball) moving on a computer screen.
There are a few ways of accessing free EMDR tools.
1) Free Youtube videos
Youtube has a lot of ready-made videos, here are a few that I like.
Make you yourput yourself at a distance of the screen where you eyes can go the each extremity of your visual field.
You can try different colors, speed and sounds to see how much it calms you down.
Black background with gentle sound.
Pink background with sound.
Rapid yellow ball with sound.
Infinite shape yellow ball with sounds (2 tones).
Infinite shape with extra stimulation with sound.
You can search YouTube for "Self-administered EMDR" to find more videos.
2) Configurable tools
There are several open-source scripts written by generous programmers.
Here's one that I have found and that I personally use.
It's works with standard browsers like Chrome, Edge and Opera.
Make sure you use a wide monitor, and/or get close to the monitor, so your eyes do move from right to left.
Access the tool here.
In my quest to solve my eleminate my own emotional flashbacks, I built QuietHamster.
It combines bilateral eye movements and mindfulness, that you do right after having any negative emotions.
The script, which you can hear, guides you through a simple 4 step process that takes 3 minutes.
It will first calm you down, then get you focused on a alternative positive way to react.
You can check it out and try it for free.
4) EMDR script
For some worksheets, you can see EMDRConsulting.com's free worksheets.
- Describe the problem, issue, current situation.
- List images, sound or smells that comes to mind.
- List the associated feelings or emotions.
- List physical sensation if any.
- Make a sentence from the last 4 steps that you want to work on.
- Associate that sentence with a negative belief.
- Rate from 1 to 10 the negative sensation you are feeling now.
- Use the EMDR tool until it's 1 or 2. Notice the thoughts that are coming through your mind. If no thoughts are coming at first, give it some time. Run 20 to 30 seconds sessions, take a pause and run another another 20 to 30 seconds session until you feel better.
- Choose a replacing positive belief.
- From 1 to 10, rate how much you believe it.
- Do EMDR until it's improved.
- Go back to the initial target, from 1 to 10, how much distress do you have when you think about it.
- Spend 5 minutes and breath slowly inhale 5 seconds, exhale 5 seconds. (it could be longer than 5 seconds, it could be 10 in and 10 out)
Research shows that bilateral eye movements quiet down the amygdala, the fear detection center of the brain.
6) Notes about CPTSD
Here are a few videos specific about using EMDR for Complex PTSD (CTPSD)
Here are a few videos from YouTube that talk specifically about EMDR for complex PTSD.
I hope this post was useful, you can leave any comments or questions in the comments section below.