EMDR

What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an extensively researched, effective psychotherapy method proven to help people recover from trauma and other distressing life experiences, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and panic disorders. EMDR therapy is widely considered one of the best treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and has been endorsed as an effective therapy by many organizations including: The American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration.

How is EMDR Different?

I also use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, and Prolonged Exposure Therapy (all of which are evidence-based therapies). However, EMDR therapy does not require talking in detail about the distressing issue or completing homework between sessions. EMDR therapy, rather than focusing on changing the emotions, thoughts, or behaviors resulting from the distressing issue, allows the brain to resume its natural healing process. EMDR therapy is designed to resolve unprocessed traumatic memories in the brain, which for many clients can lead to fewer sessions needed.

The EMDR Experience

After the therapist and client agree that EMDR therapy is a good fit, the client will work through the eight phases of EMDR therapy with their therapist. Attention will be given to a negative image, belief, and body feeling related to this event, and then to a positive belief that would indicate the issue was resolved. A typical EMDR therapy session lasts from 60-90 minutes. EMDR therapy may be used within a standard talking therapy or as a treatment all by itself.

How Does EMDR Affect the Brain?

Our brains have a natural way to recover from traumatic memories and events. This process involves communication between the amygdala (the alarm signal for stressful events), the hippocampus (which assists with learning, including memories about safety and danger), and the prefrontal cortex (which analyzes and controls behavior and emotion). While many times traumatic experiences can be managed and resolved spontaneously, they may not be processed without help. Stress responses are part of our natural fight, flight, or freeze instincts. When distress from a disturbing event remains, the upsetting images, thoughts, and emotions may create feelings of overwhelm, of being back in that moment, or of being “frozen in time.” EMDR therapy helps the brain process these memories and allows normal healing to resume. The experience is still remembered, but the fight, flight, or freeze response from the original event is resolved.”

Who Does EMDR Benefit?

EMDR therapy can be used to address a wide range of areas including: anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, chronic illness, medical issues, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, grief and loss, pain, performance anxiety, personality disorders, PTSD, sexual assault, sleep disturbances, substance abuse, violence, and abuse.

What is an EMDR Intensive?

An intensive is a way to deliver treatment in an intensive but short period of time, typically a weekend, where multiple EMDR sessions per day are completed. New research shows that intensive therapy for trauma and stress can be extremely effective on symptom reduction.

Benefits

• Research shows that clients completing intensive treatment can make as much progress in the condensed format as in standard weekly sessions. This can eliminate weeks or months of living with trauma symptoms, and with the toll this takes on work, relationships, marriages, parenting and general wellbeing.
• Since sessions are completed over two or three days it greatly reduces lost work time.
• While there is a larger upfront cost, the shorter duration of treatment over all can save money.
• Intensives are being studied in the literature as a state-of-the-art modality for trauma.


CLINICAL STRUCTURE
Preparation Phase
• Your therapist will do a detailed assessment first to help pinpoint targets for EMDR and your goals, as well as gather additional information about your background and history. Your therapist may also want to view relevant previous mental health records, and staff with your current therapist (if you have one).
Treatment Phase
• The treatment phase of the intensive is typically three sessions per day over a weekend but can be adjusted based on client needs. There will be breaks in between for meals, rest, and self-care.

Fees

Intensive prices vary based on treatment plan recommendations by provider. Insurance does not cover the costs, as intensives are not part of coverage plans. There are also no insurance codes for intensives for billing, so clients cannot submit claims to insurance themselves.

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