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I'm nervous about starting EMDR therapy

When I was around 9 my dad started sexually abusing me. I kept this quiet until it happened again recently last year around november, december time. I told mum and we told the police. Since the interviews and that I've been getting intense flashbacks and nightmares. I see CAMHS and they're enrolling me in some EMDR therapy. I don't know what it is, or what it will do. I always get nervous about nes things. Any advice on it? And on how to relieve anxiety? Thank you :)
Ask Sam


Hi there,

You’ve been very brave telling your mum and the police about the sexual abuse. Talking about what has happened is often the first step towards getting the support you need. You deserve to feel safe and be happy.

The interviews can be an incredibly difficult thing to go through and sometimes can trigger intense memories in the form of flashbacks and nightmares. It doesn’t happen to everyone but it can happen sometimes. Flashbacks tend to be memories that are so vivid that it can feel to the person experiencing them that they are right there in the past reliving what happened all over again.

The theory behind EMDR (which stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) is that these memories are stored in a part of the brain which makes them feel as if they are happening right at this very moment, because you haven’t yet had a chance to process the memories. 

It can sometimes feel to people that memories of what they’ve been through are stored very close to the surface of their minds because certain things in their environment can cause a flashback to happen. The aim of EMDR is to help you process what happened to you so that any triggers that remind you of the sexual abuse no longer cause a flashback. 

It’s completely understandable that starting a new therapy might make you feel nervous, but you have every right to have your questions about EMDR answered. If you feel able to talk to someone about how you feel, this could help to reduce anxiety. If you ever want to talk about your worries and feelings you can talk to a counsellor.

There's some information on the Mind website and from the Young Minds website. You can also talk to other young people on our message boards.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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