Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing, rather a mouthful but it’s a variation of CBT originally designed to treatment PTSD sufferers but now used with other types of trauma too. Must admit I’d seen it mentioned on a couple if threads and bypassed it completely due to the above but noted the NHS specifies ‘migraine’ and besides any vestibular condition you it’s very nature could cause trauma.

Seems some people have achieved some limited success with it.

Bad dreams anyone?
Brainfog/Cognitive difficulties - anyone?

I’ve been through this type of therapy a few times in the past. Always for PTSD, not migraine.

Unfortunately, my sessions were cut short due to mandatory work relocation or insurance issues.

I recently started with a new provider and am exploring EMDR again.

I’m happy to share if anyone has questions I can answer.

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This is an interesting idea. I had EMDR a few years back when I was seeing a therapist who was trained in it, it wasn’t for PTSD, but I gather they do use it for other things now too (general bad experiences that may have recurred through childhood, for example). It didn’t really work for me, but I know through friends and colleagues that it can be tremendously successful for specific traumatic episodes. Maybe mine wasn’t specific enough. Wish I’d thought to try it for MAV now.

From my understanding, EMDR aims to dampen the emotional response (fear/ panic) attached to a particular memory. So, for example, if you feel terrified of going in a supermarket because you once had a spin in there and had to be rescued by strangers, then I imagine it could work by lessening the anxiety, hence lessening the impact of the MAV next time you go in a supermarket. Maybe.

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I like to keep a low profile so I don’t think I’ve mentioned anything like this before, but I am a psychotherapist with 20 years experience and accredited with BACP. I have been treating clients with EMDR since 2006 and have all the relevant qualifications.
As a MAVer myself, I can’t see how EMDR could possibly help migraineurs and certainly not MAV. As is mentioned above, EMDR was initially formulated in order to help those suffering with PTSD and the therapy ties in well with CBT.
I think that like CBT, EMDR is sometimes touted as a cure-all/silver bullet/panacea and they’re trying to widen its appeal.
I’d also like to say that most EMDR therapy uses eye movement specifically and sometimes these are quite rapid. I could see this exacerbating a sufferers dizziness rather than making it any better.
A lot of psychology is conjectural, just as a lot of antidepressant drugs are hit & miss, so very often it looks like they try anything for anything.


Good to have input from somebody with your amount of professional experience of EMDR. I must admit I only brought the subject to the table because the term occurred in an article I was reading and I had never heard of it before. Once I noticed it listed ‘migraine’ as something it can be used to treat I thought it worthy of discussion. Though as you say very often they try anything for anything.

Must admit to being extremely cynical about any ‘thinking’/CBT type stuff as a treatment for anything at all much really however since being involved on here and noticing how traumatised some people with MAV can become as a result of their symptoms, vertigo I’m thinking of most particularly, could just be they are verging on something resembling PTSD. Could depend how much anxiety actually exacerbates individuals symptoms whether EMDR would be of any benefit maybe. As you say MAV and rapid eye movements would certainly seem a big No No for the majority of MAVers me included.

Butterfly Hugs as mentioned by @Dizzyleigh in her PD form part of the EMDR protocol apparently. Yang style tai chi has a vaguely similar grounding technique routine referred to in the western world as ‘knocking the body’.


I’m a bit late to this but I’ve had EMDR as part of my therapy for PTSD remotely with my therapist over Zoom. I don’t have it with flashing lights (not good for MAV) but use audio beats in my ears or tapping on my collar bones. It won’t cure MAV but what it has helped with me is what MAV triggers in me - great anxiety, panic, reluctance to go to things, etc. Hope that helps.


Brief update on my EMDR journey.

I finally found another EMDR certified therapist covered by my insurance and it’s proving to be too triggering for me.

Next up for my PTSD is something called Brainspotting. I’m watching videos on it now to see if I’m willing to give it a try.

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Please do post about this. Very interesting. Feel free to create a new Topic if appropriate.

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