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.
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.
GETTING UNSTUCK WITH EMDR:
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.
How does EMDR work?
EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation to accelerate the brain’s capacity to process and heal a troubling experience.
Bilateral stimulation occurs rhythmically in a left-right pattern through visual, auditory, or tactile movement. It occurs naturally during dream sleep, 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. You can learn more about bilateral stimulation in this blog post.
“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 –
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.
QUESTIONS ABOUT EMDR?
Frequently Asked Questions
Is EMDR right for me?
EMDR is a simple but efficient therapy that helps clients reprocess images, self-thoughts, emotions, and body sensations trapped in the past. It can be a helpful approach especially for those who have already tried talk based therapies yet continue to feel stuck or overwhelmed.
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 done from your home or in the office. We can discuss further what format would be most appropriate for your needs.
How many sessions will it take for EMDR to work?
I will typically use EMDR as part of an integrated treatment plan. Each individual reacts differently to EMDR therapy and time spent in each phase varies.
Adjunctive EMDR is designed to be shorter (4-12 sessions) to assist clearing up distress that is interfering with the client making therapeutic gains. 4-12 sessions is usually considered short term to assist clearing “simple” distress and trauma. A longer term approach where EMDR is integrated in ongoing therapy may be needed especially for clients with complex trauma or dissociation.
How long is an EMDR therapy session?
A typical session will last anywhere between 50-90 minutes. Although it can be tempting to try to squeeze as much as possible into the standard clinical hour, I highly recommend clients try to go for the 90 minute format if able to do so. For many clients, the standard clinical hour isn’t enough time to reprocess targets.
Can I do EMDR AND Traditional Talk Therapy at the same time?
Yes! EMDR therapy wouldn’t replace or interrupt ongoing therapy but supplements the primary therapeutic relationship in an intensive format. Ideally, your primary therapist and I can discuss a schedule that best meets your needs. A schedule can include the client seeing both therapists in a week or alternating therapy each week with both therapists or seeing the EMDR therapist weekly and the primary therapist every other week.
It is common for clients to want to process and discuss what came up for them in the EMDR session with their primary therapist. This is part of the healing process as clients will integrate new learning, discuss new insights, or change behaviors or responses to life and relationships.
Does insurance cover EMDR therapy?
EMDR sessions can be longer than the standard 50 minutes, therefore it is important to clarify with your insurance company whether they will cover sessions longer than 50 minutes.
How do I start EMDR therapy with you?
I offer a complimentary 15 minute initial phone consultation prior to starting therapy. To schedule a phone consultation contact me by phone 323.296.9846, email, or through the Contact Form.
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