Do you have painful areas in your life where you struggle to gain victory? You’re not alone; none of us is promised a trouble-free life. If you’re looking to treat trauma with self-administered EMDR, our team at Heal Our Land is here to support you in your healing work.
Faith-Based EMDR Therapy
In a study conducted in 24 countries, 70% of respondents reported that they’d experienced some type of trauma. Trauma isn’t as rare as we might think. Moving past the negative thoughts and feelings resulting from traumatic experiences can be a serious challenge for many of us.
When we walk through hard times, we can count on the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide, and heal us. And if we find ourselves stuck in unhealthy cycles and negative beliefs, it’s important to explore various healing modalities and available forms of therapy.
One incredible tool we like to incorporate into our Holy Spirit-guided healing sessions is faith-based EMDR. If this is your first time hearing about EMDR, this might initially seem foreign or strange. We encourage you to follow along and learn how EMDR can help you overcome the debilitating effects of trauma.
What Is EMDR?
There are many ways to approach and heal from traumatic events, and EMDR treatments are one of them. Let’s talk about what EMDR is in general.
What Does EMDR Stand For?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Many try this type of therapy alongside or as an alternative to traditional talk therapy. EMDR isn’t a replacement for talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Instead, EMDR takes an entirely different approach that some people find helpful when mainstream approaches haven’t resulted in the desired level of breakthrough.
EMDR can, in theory, help the brain reprocess traumatic memories using bilateral stimulation. While eye movements give the therapy style its name, you can also use shoulder taps, sounds, snaps, or any other type of “one side and then the other” stimulus. Eyes don’t have to be involved.
This back-and-forth movement allows the brain to remain calm when thinking about an upsetting or traumatic memory, allowing you to process it in a more healthy way.
Often, therapists won’t say much to the patient during EMDR sessions. They’ll guide you through memories, allowing you to share their thoughts and keep moving forward. EMDR is a fluid, primarily self-guided process.
EMDR can be stressful for some as it requires talking through painful moments in the past, but it serves as an effective method for healing from trauma.
What Is Self-Administered EMDR?
Not everyone has access to reliable EMDR services in their local areas. Self-administered EMDR is a convenient option that you can perform in the safety of your own home.
*Please note that Heal Our Land coaches are not licensed counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, or medical doctors. We’re here to provide information and support you in discovering belief systems that may govern your life so that you can make constructive changes.
Teena Starr, Director of Family Restoration at Heal Our Land, beautifully demonstrates the marriage between self-administered EMDR therapy and Holy Spirit healing.
But what is self-administered EMDR? How can you start doing it at home? Let’s talk about it.
When starting out, seeing a professional for EMDR therapy may be best. An experienced therapist will help you lay the groundwork for a successful EMDR session, and they’ll recognize when you’re becoming overly distressed and need a break.
With this in mind, finding the right faith-based EMDR therapist isn’t always easy. If you’re searching for “Christian EMDR therapy near me” and struggling to find what you need, you could benefit from EMDR at home. Also, if you’ve already done a round of successful EMDR with a specialist and need a follow-up, or if you don’t have the budget for ongoing therapy, self-administering EMDR is worth looking into.
Self-administered EMDR is also suitable for relatively small traumas that aren’t disrupting your day-to-day life or traumatic thoughts that have resurfaced after a successful EMDR session.
During self-administered EMDR, you become your own therapist. You introduce bilateral stimulation without a therapist’s help by utilizing sounds, vibrations, or lights.
Fortunately for people wanting to self-administer EMDR, there are plenty of online resources to guide you.
How To Self-Administer EMDR
Self-administering EMDR is easier than ever with the internet at our fingertips, and many people opt to use YouTube videos. If you search for “self-administered EMDR,” you’ll find videos that combine images and sounds to draw your attention back and forth.
We recommend using headphones to get the most out of your DIY EMDR sessions. You can also combine visual or audio stimulation with physical stimulation. Tap one shoulder and then the other, back and forth, to get the full effect.
During an EMDR session, you’re going to need dual awareness. This means you’ll need to focus on the stimulation and discomfort you’re feeling simultaneously if you want the session to work.
You could buy bilateral stimulation devices to make it easier, such as this one that Teena uses in her demonstration.
EMDR Opening Prayer
Make sure that you’re in a good headspace when you begin and, most importantly, invite the Holy Spirit into your session. Prepare a safe place to return to in your mind if you start to feel overwhelmed. Here’s an opening prayer similar to the one Teena models:
“Holy Spirit, I invite you here. I ask you, God, to go into the hidden places, the hurt places in my life. I ask you, Holy Spirit, to be my navigator and guide me through this traumatic incident that hurt my heart and broke me down emotionally. I’ve been hurting and suffering and trying to manage my life with this pain.
“I want to get free in the areas of fear, anxiety, terror, trauma, and issues that have stifled me since this event occurred. I want to get free of this brokenness today. So, Holy Spirit, I give you permission to go into my broken places and apply your healing balm. Let me be healed in mind, body, soul, and spirit. Thank you, Lord. Amen.”
As you begin your EMDR session, pay attention to the thoughts, feelings, and memories that the Holy Spirit brings to the forefront of your mind. As you take this step of faith, trust that He will highlight what to focus on in each session. Most of all, know that He is there to walk alongside and comfort you every step of the way.
Who Should Try EMDR?
So who is EMDR for?
EMDR is effective for anyone who’s experienced trauma and struggling to heal. Trauma can include any event in your life resulting in a distressing emotional response.
Many people benefit from EMDR, such as those working through:
- eating disorders
- various addictions
- drug abuse
- mental illness
- relationship problems
- performance anxiety
- generalized anxiety
- sleep disturbances
Our responses to trauma and the resulting behaviors are unique to each of us. What triggers you might not trigger someone else who walked through a similar situation and vice versa. It’s important to extend grace to yourself and others who may be suffering.
EMDR for PTSD
People with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can benefit significantly from EMDR. According to the EMDR Institute, a study funded by Kaiser Permanente revealed that 100% of single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple-trauma victims were no longer diagnosed with PTSD following only six 50-minute EMDR sessions. Similar results were found following 12 sessions in combat veterans.
It’s important to understand that EMDR therapy is only as effective as people are willing to dive deep into healing. EMDR can be challenging, and those diagnosed with PTSD may require a professional to walk them through the healing process.
Performing EMDR at home requires the ability to manage your emotions well. If you tend to shut down when experiencing a stressful feeling, self-administered EMDR might not be a good option. Pursuing a treatment plan with a professional will likely be more beneficial for you.
Benefits of EMDR
So why do people choose to do EMDR? There are a few ways that EMDR benefits people who have been struggling with the effects of trauma.
EMDR doesn’t just re-hash past events. Instead, it allows the patient to re-interpret them and move beyond them. People who are unsuccessful with talk therapy sometimes struggle because speaking about the event can solidify it instead of helping them work through it.
Reprocessing EMDR therapy can help re-shape relationships. Suppose a patient has been struggling with a parent, for example, due to unresolved trauma. Despite the parent doing their own healing and apologizing, the patient has been unable to forgive and heal. In that case, EMDR therapy sessions can help process stuck emotions and mend that relationship.
EMDR therapy can also help people recover from distressing experiences more quickly in the future. You can apply EMDR skills to many unpleasant (if not traumatic) situations. People may notice that they feel more resilient after doing EMDR (either DIY or with a professional).
EMDR Side Effects
Healing is not a linear experience, and working through emotional pain is no different. Unpleasant side effects of EMDR may follow significant breakthroughs, including:
- fluctuating emotions
- intensified dreams
- feeling vulnerable
- nausea, or a queasy stomach
- headache or lightheadedness
- increased recall of traumatic events
As you experience the pros and cons of EMDR, be patient with yourself and—when necessary—invite a Christian EMDR therapist into your process.
Is Self-Administered EMDR for You?
If you’ve experienced trauma impacting your day-to-day life, self-administered EMDR therapy might be right for you. It’s an excellent option for people who don’t have access to an in-person therapist but are also still trying to heal.
At Heal Our Land, we take a faith-based approach to helping individuals and communities heal and thrive after conflict and trauma. Our various programs aim to help everyone become their best selves. EMDR is just one tool available to achieve breakthroughs in our lives.
If you want to try self-administered EMDR, we hope this information helps you succeed. And may the Holy Spirit will guide and comfort you.