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“I Tried EMDR Therapy, But It Didn’t Work for Me…”

Updated: Apr 24, 2021

Sometimes I had clients came to me and told me that they’d tried EMDR therapy with other therapists, and it didn’t work for them. They would share their experiences with me and how they felt about EMDR. I so appreciated the stories I heard and would like to share with you some of my thoughts about this.

Why EMDR Therapy Didn’t Work?

Here are two reasons that I can think of right now.

1. IT WAS IMPLEMENTED WRONG. Certified EMDR Therapists have to take trainings by EMDR International Association Approved Training. However, there are EMDR trainings out there that are approved by the association; as a result, the therapists’ qualification and how they implement EMDR could vary. I heard some wild stories from clients of how they experienced EMDR Therapy were totally different than how I was trained. As a result, and I can understand, why clients would feel reluctant to try EMDR again, since the previous experience left a bad taste in their mouth. If this is you, I hope you will be able to find a qualified EMDR therapist, and will be able to trust that therapist to give it a try again.

2. IT WENT TOO FAST. There are 8 phases of EMDR Therapy. In other words, there needs to be a preparation stage, before the actual trauma processing stage. Some clients need to have more preparation, increasing skills such as grounding, before moving on to the next phase. What I meant by “it went too fast,” I meant the therapist jumps to the trauma processing phase before the client feels ready. Remember, you can always stop and pace yourself in therapy. Let you therapist know what’s going on, and your therapists will help you feel safe and grounded before moving too fast.

Traditional Talk Therapy

Some clients really enjoy the transitional talk therapy and benefit from it. For me, personally, when I finally found the therapist that worked well with me, she’s not EMDR trained. However, I still benefit greatly form being able talk about my issues, gain insights, and find ways to better myself. As a therapist myself, I keep that in mind, to make sure my clients can choose the best treatment modalities for them, and that they feel comfortable working in that modality.

Hi, my name is "Jane" I-Chen Liu, MA.LMHC, who created this worksheet and this blog for you. If you are seeking mental health therapy, please feel free to contact me at or visit me at

KareKounseling, LLC © 2021 All rights reserved.

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