Hypnosis or EMDR?

Many EMDR practitioners will tell you that EMDR and hypnosis are very different. In fact, the EMDR originators go to lengths to explain that they are not the same. However, as most hypnosis practitioners will tell you, EMDR is just one of many hypnosis techniques and that the process is the same regardless. It is true that many of the techniques used in EMDR were adapted from hypnosis techniques already in use, but are they similar beyond that?

EMDR practitioners will tell you that they don't put their clients into altered states, whereas hypnosis obviously aims for an altered state. This is completely correct however because an altered state happens throughout the day to varying degrees. Driving is an altered state, watching TV also, reading, sleeping, relaxing, fighting, all altered states. One of the original and sometimes still used by older hypnotists was the swinging pocket watch. It's a classic image of a hypnotist. It works because the client tracks the pocket watch with their eyes and the back and forth motion entrances them into an altered state. EMDR uses a lightbar or the therapist's finger to achieve the exact same effect, only they call it bilateral stimulation so that it is different. The process is the same. The client becomes entranced and is more open to suggestion and memory recall.

If they are both the same, then which is best? Well, they are essentially the same thing, but EMDR is a version of hypnosis that is more accepted by the medical field currently. It is simply a rebranding of previously established and very valuable skills because so many of the older hypnosis practitioners weren't properly licensed, made wild claims unchecked, and ultimately gave the field a bad name. The hypnosis skills were used in showmanship and entertainment and lost the public's respect and the medical field with it. But, so long as the practitioner is skilled, licensed, and trained at a reputable school and isn't making any wild claims then it doesn't matter what you call the technique used, so long as it helps you in the end. 

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