EMDR = Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMT = Eye Movement Technique. It’s a thing.
Here was my first response to EMDR: Huh? Moving your eyes back and forth? You’ve got to be kidding me.
But apparently it does work. Something about connecting the two halves of your brain, while focusing on the situation, makes your brain process and integrate it better.
And you can do the same thing without the weird eye stuff, by tapping. Yeah, it sounds lame. But try it. It only takes a few minutes.
It doesn’t necessarily solve a problem per se, but it takes the extreme emotional reactivity or stress away, which makes the problem a lot more reasonable to deal with. And it can help release long-standing emotional knots like guilt, jealousy, fear, etc.
I tried it with anger. It seemed to work – the problem was still there, but I wasn’t as bothered by it. It was just, you know, a problem. Instead of OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE THIS F*ING PROBLEM, THIS IS COMPLETELY UNFAIR AND I WANT TO DO SOMETHING DRASTIC ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW! I felt like, more perspective, and calmer. Good stuff like that.
And it’s really easy so I will tell you how to do it. They go into more depth in the book but here are the basics.
EMT for fun and profit (er…I mean, for emotional healing)
- Bring up a stressful feeling. Imagine an incident that makes you angry, for instance, or a situation, or a person you have big painful feelings around. Go into the feeling, feel the sensations in your body.
- Determine on a scale of 1 to 10 how stressful it is. It should be really stressful, at least a 4. If it’s not, find something more stressful to try it on.
- Sit in a comfortable place. Put your hands on your thighs palm-down. Tap your right index finger on your right thigh. Then tap your left index finger on your left thigh. Now go back and forth like that, tap tap tap, at the rate of two taps per second. Do it for three minutes, while keeping your focus on that stressful feeling.
- After three minutes, stop. Now note on a scale of 1 to 10 how stressful you feel right now when you think of the incident or situation.
- If it’s lower, keep going and do a few more three minute sessions until it’s down to a 1 or a 0.
- If it’s not lower, it could be that the emotion has changed to a different emotion or you are angry or stressed about a related thing, which you can then process the same way. It could have several layers which you can tap down through.
The book goes into more – why it works, what to do if it doesn’t work, why it may not be working, case studies, and all the various applications you can use it for.
Oh, and here’s the disclaimer: If you suffer from post-traumatic stress or think you may have buried unconscious trauma memories, maybe you should do this with a professional because it can bring up traumatic memories sometimes.
Otherwise, tap away.
Wait, what about the Eye Movement part of Eye Movement Technique?
Ok, ok. Well, if the tapping is not doing it for you, you can do this:
- Bring up the stressful feeling and focus on it.
- Sit up and look forward.
- Pick a spot in your extreme left field of vision. Pick another spot in your extreme right field of vision.
- Look back and forth between the spots as fast as you can about 30 times (30 back-and-forths).
- Pause for a second. Do another set of 30.
I personally like the tapping better because I can focus on my body sensations more, and it’s easier and simpler and doesn’t make me dizzy. But both of them seem to work.