EMDR for Intrusive Thoughts: Techniques, Working and Benefits

EMDR for Intrusive Thoughts: Techniques, Working and Benefits

Intrusive thoughts can be debilitating and can cause a great deal of distress. These thoughts can range from the mundane to the extreme, and they often leave people feeling helpless and without hope for relief. Fortunately, there are treatments available for those seeking help with intrusive thoughts. One popular approach is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). In this blog post, we will explore EMDR in detail, discuss its effectiveness in treating intrusive thoughts, and more. Read on to learn all about EMDR and how it can help you overcome your intrusive thoughts.

What are Intrusive Thoughts?

Intrusive thoughts are defined as any unwanted, persistent thought, image, or urge that causes distress or interferes with daily life. They can be about anything that a person fears or dreads and can be violent, sexual, or blasphemous. People who experience intrusive thoughts often feel like they are going crazy and try to suppress them, but this only makes them worse. EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) is a type of therapy that is effective in treating intrusive thoughts.

What is EMDR?

EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, is a powerful therapeutic tool that can help those struggling with intrusive thoughts. EMDR is an effective treatment for PTSD, and can also be used to treat other forms of anxiety and trauma. During an EMDR session, the therapist will guide the client in a series of eye movements, while the client focuses on a particular memory or thought. The goal of EMDR is to help the client process and release the emotions associated with the memory or thought. This is so that it no longer feels as intrusive or distressing. EMDR can be a very effective treatment for intrusive thoughts and can help people to feel more in control of their thoughts and emotions.

Techniques of EMDR For Intrusive Thoughts

EMDR is a type of therapy that can be used to help treat intrusive thoughts. There are several different techniques that can be used in EMDR, and these can be customized to each individual. Some of the most common techniques include:

-Tracking: This involves following the movement of an object with your eyes while thinking about the intrusive thought.

-Bilateral stimulation: This involves alternating stimulation between the left and right sides of the brain. This can be done using eye movements, sounds, or taps.

-Shifting perspectives: This technique involves looking at the intrusive thought from a different perspective. For example, if you are worried about an upcoming test, you may focus on the fact that you have studied hard and are prepared for it.

-Visualization: This technique involves picturing yourself in a positive situation or outcome. For example, if you are worried about a presentation, you may visualize yourself giving the presentation confidently and successfully.

How Does EMDR Work for Treating Intrusive Thoughts?

Most people experience intrusive thoughts at some point in their lives. For some, these thoughts are manageable and don’t interfere with daily life. But for others, intrusive thoughts can be debilitating and cause immense anxiety. If you’re struggling with intrusive thoughts, you may be wondering if there’s anything that can help.

One treatment option that has shown promise for treating intrusive thoughts is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR is a type of therapy that uses bilateral stimulation, which can be in the form of eye movements, audio tones, or taps on the knees, to help the brain process and release traumatic memories or other types of disturbing experiences.

EMDR is an effective treatment for a variety of mental health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, and depression. Several studies have also found that EMDR can help reduce the frequency and intensity of intrusive thoughts.

Furthermore, If you’re considering EMDR for treating your intrusive thoughts, it’s important to work with a qualified therapist who has experience using this approach. EMDR is a complex therapy technique and requires extensive training to master.

What Are The Benefits of EMDR?

EMDR is a form of therapy that can be used to treat a wide variety of mental health issues, including intrusive thoughts. EMDR is an effective treatment for reducing the frequency and intensity of intrusive thoughts.

Some of the other benefits of  EMDR include:

  • Improved self-esteem and self-confidence: One of the most common benefits of EMDR is improved self-esteem and self-confidence. Through the process of revisiting traumatic memories and making sense of them. Individuals can gain a better understanding and acceptance of themselves. There can be many positive changes in an individual’s attitude, outlook, and behavior.
  • Reduction in physical symptoms: EMDR can also help to reduce physical symptoms such as pain, headaches, nausea, fatigue, and insomnia. By resolving the underlying emotional conflicts associated with a traumatic event or experience, physical symptoms may be alleviated.
  • Increased feelings of safety: EMDR is effective in helping individuals feel more confident and safe. By addressing traumatic memories, individuals can develop a greater sense of security and self-confidence. This can help to improve the overall quality of life.
  • Improved relationships: EMDR can also improve relationships, as individuals are better able to regulate their emotions and communicate more effectively. This can lead to fewer conflicts and misunderstandings between people and a more harmonious atmosphere.
  • Increased coping skills: By addressing core issues associated with mental health issues, individuals may develop more effective coping strategies. This can help them manage stress and difficult emotions in a healthier manner.
  • Reduction in anxiety and depression: EMDR helps to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression by helping to process buried emotions safely and effectively.
  • Enhanced sense of control: By addressing the underlying causes of intrusive thoughts, EMDR helps individuals regain control over their mental health. This can help to reduce feelings of helplessness or hopelessness.
  • Improved coping skills: EMDR can help individuals learn coping strategies that can be used to manage intrusive thoughts when they arise. Some of these strategies include relaxation techniques, cognitive reframing, and distraction.

Are There Any Risks or Side Effects Associated With EMDR?

There are no known risks or side effects associated with EMDR. However, as with any treatment, there is always a possibility that something could go wrong. If you have any concerns about EMDR, be sure to discuss them with your therapist before beginning treatment.

However, it can cause some of the following:

  • Discomfort, confusion, or distress during or after the EMDR session: Sometimes many emotions come to the surface during an EMDR session, and it can be overwhelming or distressing to process them all at once.
  • Triggering of traumatic memories: While EMDR is designed to help people process and heal from trauma, there is a possibility that some memories may become activated during an EMDR session.
  • Heightened emotional arousal: When working through intense emotions, someone’s arousal level can become heightened. This could lead to feelings of anxiety or distress.
  • Exacerbation of symptoms: There is a possibility that EMDR could increase the severity of certain symptoms for some people. There may be a need to reevaluate the type of treatment and make sure it is appropriate for the individual.
  • Nightmares, intrusive thoughts, or flashbacks during or after the EMDR session: Some of the memories that are processed during EMDR may be disturbing, and they may come up again in the form of nightmares, intrusive thoughts, or flashbacks.
  • Difficulty concentrating: This is a common side effect of EMDR, and it may persist after an EMDR session. Consecutive sessions of EMDR may lead to an increase in difficulty concentrating.

Where Can I Find an EMDR Therapist?

There are a few ways to find an EMDR therapist. You can look online for directories of EMDR therapists, or ask your regular therapist if they are EMDR trained.

Some other sources to find a  qualified EMDR therapist include :

  • Hospitals: One of the most reliable sources for finding an EMDR therapist is to contact a local hospital or healthcare center. Most hospitals have mental health services and can refer you to a qualified EMDR practitioner.
  • Online directories: There are many online directories of EMDR therapists. These directories allow you to search for therapists by location and specialty, making it easy to find a qualified practitioner in your area.
  • Insurance companies: Many insurance companies provide lists of providers who accept their coverage. Some of these providers may be EMDR-trained professionals, so contacting your insurance provider can be a great way to locate an EMDR therapist near you.
  • Word of mouth: As with any healthcare provider, word of mouth can be a great way to find an EMDR therapist. Ask friends, family members, and colleagues if they have had experience with EMDR and if they could recommend someone for you.

It is important to note that not all EMDR practitioners are equally qualified or experienced. Before selecting a therapist, take the time to research their credentials and experience, read reviews from other clients, and ask questions about their practice.


EMDR is an incredibly powerful tool for helping people with intrusive thoughts. It can help a person to reframe the way they think about their experiences, and give them the necessary skills to cope with such symptoms in their day-to-day life. While EMDR is not suitable for everyone, it has been proven to be effective for many individuals who are struggling with intrusive thoughts or PTSD. If you’re interested in learning more about EMDR and how it might work for you, we suggest speaking with your therapist or doctor about setting up an appointment today.

For more information and guidance, please contact MantraCare. OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions. If you have any queries regarding Online OCD Counseling experienced therapists at MantraCare can help: Book a trial OCD therapy session


Try MantraCare Wellness Program free

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.