somatic therapy conversation

EMDR Therapy

Process Trauma

What is EMDR Therapy?

Living with the aftermath of trauma can feel like being trapped in a never-ending loop. Flashbacks, anxiety, and overwhelming emotions can dominate your daily life, making it difficult to function. You might find yourself avoiding places or situations that trigger painful memories or feeling detached from loved ones. Sleep disturbances, irritability, and a constant sense of unease may become your new normal. These struggles not only affect your mental health but can also take a toll on your physical well-being.

EMDR therapy can help you reclaim your life and move forward with confidence.

What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a powerful tool to help break this loop. EMDR, developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro, focuses on helping your brain process traumatic memories in a healthier way. It’s different from traditional talk therapy. Instead of just talking about your trauma, you reprocess these memories with the guidance of a trained therapist.

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How it Works

EMDR therapy follows a structured eight-phase approach. Which phases you work on will depend on what is going on for you.  Here is a description of the phases:

  • History Taking and Treatment Planning: We start by talking about your history and what you want to achieve. This helps create a plan tailored just for you.

  • Preparation: We explain the EMDR process, answer any questions you have, and teach you some techniques to deal with difficult emotions.

  • Assessment: Together, we identify specific memories or experiences causing you trouble. We’ll also look at the negative beliefs tied to these memories and work on developing positive ones.

  • Desensitization: Using something called "bilateral stimulation" (which varies eye movements, taps, or sounds), we'll work together to process these memories. The goal is to reduce their emotional charge and help you see them differently.

  • Installation: We’ll strengthen the positive beliefs you’ve developed, integrating them into your overall perspective.

  • Body Scan: I’ll guide you through a body scan to find any residual tension related to the memories, ensuring you’ve fully processed them.

  • Closure: Each session ends with making sure you feel stable and grounded. I’ll give you techniques to handle any leftover distress and get ready for our next session.

  • Reevaluation: In follow-up sessions, we’ll review your progress and tackle any new issues, continuing as needed.

How we do EMDR

At Healing Well Counseling, we use a personalized approach to EMDR. We understand that each person is unique, so we remain flexible in how we do our EMDR sessions.

We might combine EMDR with body-based approaches or Parts Work for a more comprehensive process. Additionally, EMDR can be part of a regular session, but we also offer it in our intensives.

"Your brain is built to adapt to change and respond to adversity. It's wired to recover and to reconstruct itself in the face of challenge."

- Louann Brizendine

Our EMDR Therapists

Here are our EMDR trained therapists. Schedule a session with one of them to get started.

LCSW, CCTP, Therapist
LCSW, CCTP, Therapist
LICSW, Therapist

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does EMDR therapy take?

It depends on a number of factors, including what is going on for you, whether we do only EMDR or combine it with other models, what your goals are, and whether we are doing standard one-hour sessions or it is part of an intensive. Some people see changes in a few sessions, while others might need more time.  It all depends on your particular situation.

Will I have to talk about my trauma in detail in EMDR?

Not necessarily. One unique aspect of EMDR (and most of the trauma work we do here) is that you don’t have to go into detail about your traumatic experiences. The focus is on processing the memories and emotions, not recounting every aspect.

Can EMDR help with other issues besides trauma?

Absolutely. EMDR is effective for anxiety, depression, phobias, and grief, among other issues. It’s versatile and can be tailored to various mental health challenges.

Is EMDR hypnosis?

The short answer to this is no. But this question often reflects a misunderstanding (or fear) of what hypnosis is. Many things can be hypnotic (including watching TV), but what people often mean when they ask this question is, "Will I lose control of myself?" or "Will I be instructed to do things I'm not aware of?" The answer to both is no. You remain fully in control and aware of your surroundings throughout the EMDR process.

Will EMDR erase my memories?

It's natural to feel uncertain about trying a new approach to therapy. However, many find that somatic therapy's unique focus on the body provides a missing piece in their healing journey. It offers a way to address trauma stored in the body that traditional talk therapy might not fully reach. Starting with an open mind and giving yourself time to experience the process can help you determine if it's the right fit for you.

Can EMDR be done online?

Yes, EMDR can be conducted online, safely and effectively. There are programs that allow us to deliver some of the visual methods online, and we can use other methods (like music) to do it as well. 

Take the Next Step

If you're tired of being stuck in the loop of trauma and are seeking a way to make tangible changes in your healing process, EMDR therapy might be the right fit for you. By reprocessing traumatic memories, EMDR helps reduce their emotional charge, allowing you to achieve a more integrated and liberated self. Reach out to us today to start your path to deeper healing and transformation.

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