Pros and Cons of EMDR Therapy

Everything in life has some of pros and cons often depending on personal preferences and circumstances.  What seems to be an advantage to one person often appears as a disadvantage to another. In the first chapter of my book EMDR A State of the Art Approach to Bring about Change: the Client’s Guide, I compare the main psychological approaches to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each. I also review how EMDR is different from each of these approaches.

EMDR has been endorsed by many psychological organizations worldwide, including the World Health Organization This is obviously a big advantage when it comes to deciding what therapy to choose, but there are also other important factors people take into account.

As with any other form of therapy, some people may find EMDR more helpful than others for a variety of reasons. This is a summary of the good, bad and ugly of EMDR as described by some people who have made enquires about having EMDR therapy and by some clients I have worked with. I have also done some research online to see what else is being said about EMDR elsewhere. (Not that I have looked at the more than 4 million results Google brings up when you search ‘EMDR’, though). I’ve also asked for feedback from some of my fellow therapists who are not trained in EMDR. Some of them said that EMDR is “too mysterious and makes no sense”. “Other approaches like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) are more straight forward”, they concluded.

In general, I have found that perceptions about EMDR are positive and encouraging even from people who don’t know much about it. However,  for a variety of reasons EMDR is not for everyone.

Here is a summary of the main pros and cons of EMDR as described by some of my clients before, during and after therapy.

Cons:

“It is quite awkward; I don’t even know how it works.”

“You won’t be encouraged to talk at length”

“Bringing all those memories back from the past can be tough”

Pros:

“We covered a bunch of issues in a few sessions!”

“EMDR works faster which saved me time and money”

“You are not asked to talk a lot. Who wants to go into details when you can keep it to the minimum?”

“I really like that there is no homework in between sessions.”


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