EMDR for Intrusive Thoughts : What Is It and Benefits

EMDR for Intrusive Thoughts : What Is It and Benefits

If you are experiencing intrusive thoughts, you may be wondering if EMDR is the right treatment for you. EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a powerful form of therapy that is effective in treating a variety of issues, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. In this blog post, we will discuss what EMDR is and how it can help relieve symptoms of intrusive thoughts.

What Is EMDR?

What Is EMDR?

EMDR is short for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, a type of psychotherapy designed to help people deal with unpleasant memories or thoughts. It involves the use of bilateral stimulation – often eye movements – to help process trauma-related memories. The goal of EMDR is to reduce negative emotions associated with these traumatic memories so that the individual can move forward in their lives without the emotional burden that was once carried.

The basic idea behind EMDR is that traumatic events are stored in our memory differently than other experiences due to high levels of emotion and stress associated with them. As a result, these memories remain unprocessed and unresolved, leading to strong emotions when they are recalled. During EMDR sessions, the therapist will guide the patient through a series of eye movements or other bilateral stimulation while they recall the traumatic memory. This helps to reduce the distress associated with it, allowing them to process and resolve the trauma-related memories more healthily.

What Are Intrusive Thoughts?

Intrusive thoughts are unwanted, automatic, and uncontrollable mental images or impulses that can cause feelings of misery and dread. These thoughts are often disturbing and upsetting, as they may involve themes such as violence, harm, or death. Such intrusive thoughts can be very distressing for individuals who experience them, particularly if they struggle with anxiety or depression.

How Can EMDR Help With Intrusive Thoughts?

How Can EMDR Help With Intrusive Thoughts?

The working of EMDR for intrusive thoughts is based on the theory of adaptive information processing, which states that when a person experiences trauma or stress, the memory, and associated emotions become locked in the brain.

EMDR helps to unlock these memories and process them in a way that allows the individual to view them differently. Through this process, they can gain insight into what caused their intrusive thoughts, as well as be better able to manage them in the future.

Also known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), this technique is becoming increasingly popular for treating intrusive thoughts. Many mental health professionals see EMDR therapy as an effective treatment option for individuals struggling with severe anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In EMDR therapy, the therapist helps the individual to re-experience traumatic memories while having them focus on a specific stimulus such as eye movements or hand tapping. Through this process, the individual can gain insight into what caused their intrusive thoughts and be better able to manage them in the future. The goal of EMDR is not only to reduce the intensity of the memories but also to give the person a different perspective on them.

What to Expect From EMDR Therapy For Intrusive Thoughts?

When beginning EMDR therapy, the therapist will typically begin by asking questions about the individual’s history and current mental health status. The therapist may also get a better understanding of the intrusive thoughts by doing an assessment and talking with the person about their experiences.

During the actual EMDR session, the therapist will direct the individual to focus on certain stimuli such as eye movements or hand tapping while they are thinking about or discussing their traumatic memories. While this is happening, the therapist can provide helpful insight into how to better understand and manage these memories. After each session, people need to take a few moments for relaxation and self-care before moving on to more activities.

During EMDR therapy for intrusive thoughts, it is important to remember that to heal, the person must be willing to confront and process the traumatic memories. This can be difficult but with a qualified therapist’s guidance, this process will likely become easier each session. It is also important to note that some individuals may need multiple sessions to completely manage their intrusive thoughts.

Overall, EMDR therapy is highly effective in treating intrusive thoughts by helping people better understand and then eventually manage them. With a qualified therapist’s help, individuals should expect to see an improvement in their mental health over time as well as an increase in overall quality of life. Nevertheless, progress depends on dedication and patience toward the healing process.

Techniques of EMDR Therapy For Intrusive Thoughts

Techniques of EMDR Therapy For Intrusive Thoughts

The goal of EMDR therapy is to help you manage and reduce the intensity of intrusive thoughts. To do this, your therapist will use a variety of techniques during treatment. These include:

Cognitive Processing

Your therapist will work with you to identify any underlying beliefs or thought patterns that may be contributing to your intrusive thoughts and address these directly in the session. One of the primary focuses of cognitive processing is to help you gain clarity on how your thoughts and beliefs may be impacting your intrusive thoughts.

Stabilization Techniques

These techniques are designed to help reduce the intensity of intrusive thoughts or manage them more effectively. This could include things like deep breathing, relaxation strategies, mindfulness, and visualization exercises. The goal here is to provide tools that can help you calm down during times when intrusive thoughts become overwhelming.


This technique involves exposing yourself to the content of your intrusive thought in a safe setting to diminish its power over time. With proper guidance from your therapist, exposure therapy can be used in a way that is safe and does not cause additional distress or anxiety. In addition, it can also be helpful to practice coping techniques during the exposure process as a way to reduce distress and increase your sense of mastery over intrusive thought.

These are just some of the techniques your therapist may use to help you manage intrusive thoughts more effectively. With EMDR therapy, you can gain insight into how your beliefs and experiences have impacted your current level of distress, learn new ways to cope with difficult intrusive thoughts, and eventually reduce their intensity or frequency.

Tips To Take EMDR for Intrusive Thoughts

There are several tips to take when considering EMDR for intrusive thoughts.

1. Understand the process: Before beginning EMDR therapy, it is important to understand the entire process and how it works so that you can be prepared for what to expect during a session. This includes learning more about the eight-phase treatment protocol and familiarizing yourself with the different eye movements used in the technique. It can help to have an understanding of any potential side effects or benefits associated with this type of therapy as well.

2. Find a qualified therapist: An EMDR specialist should be licensed and certified in the method before performing sessions on clients. Ask potential therapists questions about their experience and references before making your decision.

3. Create a safe space: Create a safe and comfortable space for the session. This can include turning off electronics and having dim lighting in the room. It is also important to have a therapist who makes you feel at ease during the process so that you can relax and focus on the treatment.

4. Honor your feelings: During an EMDR session, it is normal to experience emotions such as fear, anxiety, or sadness. It is important to honor these feelings without judgment or suppression and allow yourself to work through them to get the most from the therapy.

5. Follow through with homework: After a session of EMDR for intrusive thoughts, it is important to follow through with any homework provided by your therapist to maximize the effectiveness of the treatment. This may be self-care practices, visualization exercises, or journaling to track your progress.

By following these tips for EMDR for intrusive thoughts, you can better prepare yourself for the sessions and get the most out of this effective therapeutic technique. With a qualified therapist and commitment to attend sessions regularly, EMDR can help reduce the severity of intrusive thoughts and improve the overall quality of life.


EMDR for intrusive thoughts is a powerful and effective treatment. This is very successful in reducing intrusive thoughts. It uses a combination of techniques to help individuals process their emotions and beliefs associated with the negative thought patterns, ultimately allowing them to move on from the intrusive thoughts. With proper guidance, EMDR can help you reduce your suffering and gain control over your mental health. Remember that it’s important to seek professional help if you feel overwhelmed or are having difficulty managing your intrusive thoughts – there is always hope for those who seek it.

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