How to erase bad memories - a DIY EMDR technique | Dr Kathy NickersonMost of us wish we could erase our bad memories. Unfortunately, bad memories are common and a normal part of life... but some memories hurt a lot more than others.This is especially true for someone who's experienced a trauma in their relationship, like an affair.

At least once a week, someone will sit down with me and say, "I don't want to see these pictures in my head anymore. I don't want to think about this bad stuff anymore!"

If you can relate, I have some good news for you. We have developed a memory erasing technique called EMDR and I've modified the technique so you can do it at home.


What's EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It was developed in the 80's by psychologist Francine Shapiro as a technique to help people overcome psychological trauma.

Click here to watch a great introductory video on EMDR.


How does EMDR work?

Basically, we ask you to recall painful memories from your long term memory into your short term memory. At the same time, we expose you to eye stimulation and sound, so that many parts of your brain are working at the same time.

Doing this overwhelms your brain a bit and helps soften up the memory. Repeating this over time helps even more.

So let's talk about how to do the exercise now...


To do the EMDR exercise, follow these instructions:

1. Print out the EMDR worksheet by clicking here. This will guide you through the exercise.

2. Watch this video to get a basic understanding of how to do the eye movements. You just need to watch it once.

3. Select an EMDR video to use for your exercise. There are hundreds on YouTube and you should find one you like (pick one that doesn't annoy you). Here are a few choices to get you started:

Blue horizontal heartbeat EMDR
Yellow metronome EMDR
Blue dot horizontal EMDR

4. Now, complete the worksheet you printed in step 1. List out all of the memories BEFORE beginning the EMDR video.

5. Once your worksheet is complete, start the EMDR video of your choice.

6. Follow the instructions on your worksheet. Recall your memories while looking at the moving light and listening to the sound.

7. Repeat this exercise 2x per day. You should start to feel the memory softening a little each day. This exercise is effective for many people, but it is not effective for everyone. Stop if you are having any adverse effects.


How did this exercise work for you?


Please comment below and share your experience with this exercise.

I have used it myself and it really helped me. It's been so helpful with many of my clients, I really hope it helps you.

It's not quite the same as going to a specialized EMDR therapist and having a professional treatment, but... it's a good approximation!



Free Resources For You

The Do's & Don'ts for Great Communication - PDF

Rebuilding Your Relationship House - PDF

11 Steps To recover From An Affair - Downloadable PDF


Dr. K's Blog

See All Our Relationship Help Articles


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  • Posted by Joel Thomas on

    Thank you very much for this! It’s straightforward and it works. I just had a question about Step 10. I’m at a loss as to how to fill in the sentence “I choose to believe ___ because I know that ___ is more powerful than ___.” The best I could do was “I choose to believe [Healing Thought] instead of [Troubling Thought] because [reason].” Can you maybe give an example of what you had in mind?

  • Posted by Dr Kathy on

    Hi Joel. Great question. Yes… I might fill in those blanks like so: “I will choose to believe that he loves me, because we have been happily married for 20 years and that is more powerful (meaningful) than 1 bad decision.” Hope that gives you a starting point… and I’ll add more to this as soon as I can. :) – Dr K

  • Posted by Katherine Gartner on

    On Step 7, it says to stop looking at the Emdr screen, does that mean to not use Bilateral stimulation while recalling the healing image or thought?

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