What Is EMDR Early Intervention?


EMDR is an evidence-based therapy designed to alleviate some of the distress and anguish that occurs after trauma. In many cases, EMDR helps people heal at much faster rates when compared to clients receiving traditional talk therapy. 

But should you seek EMDR right after a trauma? Is there such a thing as getting help too soon? Moreover, is there a right time to process your feelings or receive professional support? Let’s dive into the benefits of EMDR early intervention. 

Who Can Benefit From EMDR?

EMDR is one of the gold standard models for treating trauma in both children and adults. EMDR is a structured, brief therapy that consists of eight phases. Throughout this treatment, you will focus on target memories while identifying any associated thoughts and feelings. Your therapist will engage in bilateral stimulations during this process. 

Eventually, you will become more and more desensitized to what happened to you. The main goal is to remember what happened without feeling negative emotions about it. 

In addition to helping people recover from trauma, EMDR can also reduce anxiety, change negative thinking, cope with grief, manage chronic pain, and build greater self-esteem. In other words, it isn’t just for resolving trauma. EMDR can supplement any current therapy, and it can offer tremendous standalone benefits. 

What Should You Do If You Just Experienced Trauma?

It can be hard to know the next step after undergoing such distress. It’s normal to feel angry, scared, or even numb. It’s also normal to feel more anxious or depressed than usual.

Safety and self-care should be among your top priorities after experiencing trauma. Safety, of course, refers to your physical well-being. For example, do you have reliable shelter and access to food and water? Do you have enough money to provide for your basic essentials?

Self-care for trauma means attuning to both your physical and emotional needs. Do you have a supportive community that has your back? Are you honoring your need for sleep, exercise, and good nutrition? Are you taking care of your self-esteem?

EMDR early intervention can be a significant part of self-care. While it’s undoubtedly good advice to suggest people seek therapy after trauma, this advice may be shortsighted. 

Research shows that EMDR early intervention yields better outcomes than reassurance therapy or supportive counseling. In other words, seeking support is helpful, but obtaining certain types of support may be more clinically effective.

If you’re unsure if EMDR is the right fit for you, you can always ask during your initial consultation. Qualified EMDR specialists understand the nuances of trauma and both the risks and benefits of this treatment model. They will be able to direct you to the best method of care.


What Is EMDR Early Intervention?

EMDR early intervention consists of two parts: treatment and prevention. Research shows that PTSD is a complicated disorder that can manifest within weeks, months, or even years after a traumatic event. And while not everyone develops PTSD, exposure to trauma almost always leads to some disruption in one’s emotional well-being.

Experts once believed that traumatic events were unconsolidated for at least three months after a specific experience. However, this may not be the case. Instead, it seems the body and mind can integrate traumatic beliefs and symptoms immediately after the incident.

EMDR early intervention may also block certain PTSD symptoms from emerging. By seeking immediate support, you will learn practical tools to cope with trauma-related symptoms. Having these tools- coupled with professional guidance and structured treatment- can be a significant protective barrier in your healing process. 


Are There Any Risks of EMDR Early Intervention?

The concept of EMDR early intervention is relatively new. While numerous studies demonstrate the efficacy of EMDR, there isn’t as much research on the specifics of EMDR early intervention.

That said, there are risks associated with any mental health treatment. First, revisiting trauma- even when it’s with a safe and trusted professional- can feel scary. Subsequently, you may be worried about retraumatizing yourself, and you might feel concerned about sharing something that feels so private.

Furthermore, EMDR may not be the right fit if you struggle with psychosis or severe substance use. In those cases, medical stabilization is a key priority- after achieving that, EMDR might be appropriate.

Finally, any therapy requires a sense of trust and rapport, especially true with trauma work. Keep in mind it’s normal for it to take a few sessions for you to feel like you can really open up to your therapist. Your therapist understands the need to maintain a sense of safety. If you have concerns about the therapeutic relationship, you are always permitted to bring them up. 

Final Thoughts

EMDR early intervention can provide immediate relief after experiencing trauma. In addition, reaching out for support immediately may prevent further trauma-related complications. 

You don’t have to suffer any longer. EMDR provides an action-based roadmap for healing. Contact us today to get started. 

Willow Counseling, PLLC – Nashville, TN

Willow Counseling, PLLC exists to provide quality trauma-informed mental health counseling to the Nashville community, recognizing the interconnectedness of our emotional, spiritual and physical selves. We work together to alleviate symptoms, learn better coping skills, relieve burdens, remove the pain of trauma, and so much more. However, our greatest desire is for you to know what it means to feel purpose and joy again and to recognize the strength and worth you have to offer the world.


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