Grief and EMDR; I Don't Want to Forget Them
A common myth is if you do EMDR therapy in grief you will forget your loved one.
This could not be further from the truth! EMDR therapy is not designed to alleviate grief but only to increase the positive memories. You will process any trauma related to the death such as sights, sounds, smells or strong negative emotions of anger or guilt. Once these have been processed you generally recall more and more good memories.
You may be having intrusive thoughts, flashbacks or nightmares related to your loved one that are blocking your grieving process. When these are processed you are able to mourn in a more balanced manner. When addressing and removing the impact of triggers such as situations, sounds or events; you can begin to access a wider range of feelings and experiences you shared together with your loved one and move forward in your own life.
Feelings of anger or guilt associated with the death can be relived through EMDR therapy. If your loved one died, for example, while drinking and driving you may find you experience a great deal of anger that blocks you from grieving. Many people experience guilt following a death that they did not return a call from that person the day they died or they were estranged at the time of the death. In cases of a suicide death many people question what they did or did not do that resulted in this death. EMDR therapy can help you process through these feelings to allow you to grieve naturally.
Maybe there are particular smells, sights or sounds that are disturbing these can be eliminated. Many times when you are with someone who is dying at home or in Hospice, for example, you may see, hear or smell things that cause you to be distressed and EMDR therapy can take these away. Likewise if you experience a traumatic death such as witnessing an accident or finding someone that has completed a suicide EMDR therapy can resolve those images.
Sometimes people have unresolved deaths from the past that become entangled with the most recent death and block healthy grieving. These past deaths can be helped by processing them through therapy as well. Many people find following EMDR therapy there are good memories that come through that they had even forgotten. A sense of peace or a definite feeling of lightness vs heaviness is described following EMDR therapy.
EMDR therapy does not eliminate healthy, appropriate emotions including grieving. It may allow mourners to feel a greater sense of inner peace. You never forget the person or the good memories through EMDR therapy.