EMDR Therapy

Ocean Wave


What is EMDR?

EMDR refers to Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. It is an integrative therapy approach that helps people metabolize distress that is related to disturbing memories, oftentimes trauma. 

EMDR is a simple but efficient therapy that helps clients reprocess images, self-thoughts, emotions, and body sensations trapped in the past. Reprocessing does NOT mean reliving.

Bilateral stimulation helps accelerate the brain’s capacity to process and heal a troubling experience. This kind of stimulation occurs rhythmically in a left-right pattern through visual, auditory, or tactile movement. Similar rapid movement occurs naturally during dream sleep (REM), causing the parts of the brain to work together to reintegrate the thoughts, emotions, and body sensations from the memory in a more adaptive way.

With EMDR, you will practice noticing how you are feeling in the present moment as you look back on things. EMDR therapy is extremely helpful because it strengthens your brain’s neural pathways and ability to access painful content without losing contact with the present moment. 

Before we ever dive into any painful memories, we will spend ample time developing grounding tools and relaxation activities, and enhancing self-care routines to ensure that you have everything you need to support yourself in and out of session.


The Power of Combining Somatic & Cognitive Approaches for Healing:

Fear, anxiety, depression, distress, and past traumas can have an immense toll on the brain and body. 

Perceived negative experiences can leave us feeling stuck, haunted by the past, or fearful of the future. This can affect your mood, appetite, energy levels, sleeping patterns, confidence, and overall sense of well-being.

EMDR therapy offers a path towards healing the whole self. It utilizes brain and body wisdom to effectively address any challenges you have faced. What’s even better is that it can be conducted effectively in the office or from the comfort of your home.

Let’s take back the power of being in the present moment and move towards living a full and vibrant life starting now.

Spa Entrance
Woman Receiving Therapy

How does EMDR work?

EMDR therapy is able to address the psychological and physical symptoms stemming from adverse life experiences. Therefore accelerating the healing process.

EMDR is not just for trauma; it is also used for anxiety, depression, OCD, phobias, performance enhancement and so much more.

“One of the challenges of traditional talk therapies is that we use a thinking part of the brain to try to help people integrate experiences that are nonverbal. A lot of traumatic memories are implicit memories or memories that don’t have many words. This is a huge challenge because oftentimes talk therapy asks clients to use language to describe experiences that are wordless. With EMDR we do use language, there is talking involved in this therapeutic approach, but there is a lot more observing rather than talking.”

– Dr. Pria Alpern, Licensed Clinical Psychologist & EMDRIA-Approved Consultant – 

Therapy Couch
Beach Walk


The Therapist’s Role in EMDR:

One of the things clients often really enjoy about EMDR is that they don’t need to disclose any of the details of their traumatic or negative experience to me in order to process the memory, heal, and create new ways of being.

My role as your therapist is to be a guide, a navigator if you will, helping you process and release the thoughts, feelings, body sensations, images, or other associations of the traumatic experience, so your brain and body can let it go for good.

Like Dr. Pria said, EMDR is “like a guided free associative process. It facilitates movement towards adaptive resolution of the trauma memory, as well as more compassionate and realistic views of self and others.”

The brain is an organ like any other capable of healing itself. As the therapist, I don’t do the healing, your brain does. My role is to hold the space and give you the tools and support that enables you to make the journey, just like an orthopedic surgeon who sets a client’s leg. It’s not the surgeon who heals the leg, it’s your body that does the healing with the right support.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is EMDR only used to treat trauma?

EMDR is an integrative therapy approach that helps people metabolize distress that is related to disturbing memories, oftentimes trauma. It is like a guided free associative process using bilateral stimulation. Although the most widespread use of it is for trauma,  it can be helpful to treat a variety of symptoms and conditions. I often use it with clients to help with anxiety, depression, and other behavioral/somatic symptoms.

Can EMDR be done virtually?

Yes. EMDR can be effectively done through a virtual format. RemotEMDR offers a comprehensive solution for conducting online EMDR therapy. It is a HIPAA-compliant platform that offers 3 types of therapist-controlled online bilateral stimuli: visual, auditory, and tactile. All three remain synchronized on the client’s side throughout the entire session. Thanks to the integration of Bi-Tapp’s Bluetooth tappers, clients can experience bilateral tactile stimulation by purchasing these tappers for at home use. 

How long is an EMDR therapy session?

Ongoing support offers integrating EMDR therapy into 50-minute sessions. Intensive Programs offer longer sessions (1.5-2 hours long).

How often would we meet?

Ongoing Support (weekly recurring sessions) and Intensive Programs (defined programs) are available for you to choose from.

What options do I have for bilateral stimulation?

Clients are offered three different types of bilateral stimulation (visual, auditory, & tactile) to support their healing. We can assess which dual attention stimulus will work best for you. If you prefer to use tappers, these will need to be purchased for home use.

What if I already have a therapist?

If you are already working with a therapist, EMDR Intensive Programs can be used as adjunct therapy to address specific treatment goals.

Is EMDR therapy available for those who want ongoing support or only intensive?

If you want to utilize EMDR in your ongoing treatment it can be integrated in. This would mean not every session would be EMDR-focused. If you are looking to address specific treatment goals, EMDR Intensives Programs  may be worth exploring.

Can my insurance help pay for EMDR therapy?

You are responsible for determining the exact details of your PPO policy ahead of time, including what benefits are available regarding out-of-network providers and if your insurance will reimburse for therapy sessions longer than 45-50 minutes or several sessions of therapy in one week. Upon request, a Superbill for all direct contact therapy hours received can be created.

Do we have to use EMDR?

No. I respect that not everyone has had positive experiences with EMDR therapy or therapists. Although EMDR is one of my main modalities, my first and foremost priority is supporting you. You are the captain of this ship – you will always have full control of choosing modalities that work for you.


What People are Saying

I have had the privilege of working closely with her over the past several years, and I have been consistently impressed with her exceptional skills, professionalism, and dedication to her clients’ well-being.

Catherine has demonstrated a profound understanding of trauma therapy and its impact on individuals. She possesses a comprehensive knowledge of the theoretical foundations and practical applications of EMDR therapy. Her expertise in using this evidence-based approach to treat trauma-related disorders is truly commendable. She is proficient in conducting thorough assessments, formulating treatment plans, and implementing interventions that are tailored to meet the unique needs of each client.

One of Catherine’s greatest strengths is her ability to establish a safe and trusting therapeutic relationship. Her warm and compassionate demeanor instantly puts clients at ease, creating an environment conducive to healing and growth. She actively listens to her clients, validates their experiences, and provides unwavering support throughout the therapeutic journey.

Catherine also demonstrates exceptional clinical skills during EMDR sessions. She exhibits a deep understanding of the EMDR protocol and utilizes it effectively to help clients process and resolve traumatic memories.

Overall, I wholeheartedly recommend Catherine as an EMDR therapist. Her exceptional skills, genuine empathy, and unwavering commitment to her clients makes her an invaluable asset to any therapy clinic or organization. I am confident that she will continue to make a positive impact on the lives of those she serves.


Catherine Alvarado Testimonials

EMDR Resources & Research


Resources to learn more about EMDR:


Research in support of EMDR effectiveness:

  • Twenty-four randomized controlled trials support the positive effects of EMDR therapy in the treatment of emotional trauma and other adverse life experiences relevant to clinical practice.
  • Seven of 10 studies reported EMDR therapy to be more rapid and/or more effective than trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Twelve randomized studies of the eye movement component noted rapid decreases in negative emotions and/or vividness of disturbing images, with an additional 8 reporting a variety of other memory effects.
  • Numerous other evaluations document that EMDR therapy provides relief from a variety of somatic complaints.
  • Research and more frequently asked questions about EMDR


Scheduling EMDR Therapy

If you feel this approach could benefit you, connect with me so we can discuss further and determine next steps.




2309 Pacific Coast Hwy, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254





2309 Pacific Coast Hwy, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254