As a certified EMDR therapist, I use aspects of EMDR therapy with almost all of my clients at some point in their treatment. Sometimes clients reach out to me specifically because they know they want to use EMDR. Other times, we start with more of a cognitive-behavioral approach but at some point I see an opportunity for EMDR to be helpful. Although earlier in my EMDR career I was hesitant to bring up the idea to clients because I thought they might find it hokey, I have discovered that most people are open to any idea that offers them hope that they might be able to get “unstuck” or “put the past in the past” (especially when they discover the vast amount of research supporting EMDR).
While I am willing to work with clients of any (or no) faith background, I market myself as a Christian therapist and therefore tend to attract Christian clients who value a shared faith with their therapist. While I have witnessed amazing results with EMDR in non-believing clients, I’ve also noticed some important shifts in thinking that are unique to believers.
Something I love about being an EMDR therapist s the opportunity to sit back and allow the client’s brain to do the healing in itself. While my training is very important to help clients stay in their window of tolerance, and stay on track with their processing, a large part of what I do is waiting to see what unfolds naturally. I especially love to hear about images and visualizations that some clients experience. (Again, these are not ideas that I suggest; these all come from the client’s own imagination.) Some of my favorites:
- Envisioning that my shame is like a wetsuit; I’m taking it off and Jesus is putting it on. He took my shame.
- (Grief work) Part of my heart is blue (sadness) and part is red (love). But those two feelings can mix together (I can experience them both at the same time) and now I see a purple color.
- I see God standing between me and him [coworker who is saying mean things to me], and God absorbs any negativity toward me so it doesn’t reach me.
- [Speaking about a memory of childhood abuse] Now I see God in the picture with me. I wasn’t alone.
- I envision Satan being caged up and thrown in the bottom of the ocean. His lies can’t touch me now.
- I see myself wearing a backpack full of heavy rocks that are weighing me down. I’m taking each rock and throwing it into a lake. I’m letting things go.
I’ve seen God work through EMDR to bring amazing healing to both past hurts and present stress. If this seems like something that would be helpful to you, please contact me for an intake session and let’s talk about how EMDR could be healing for you.