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EMDR and EMDR Intensives

What is EMDR?

EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is an effective therapy in clearing distress out of the nervous system. EMDR also simultaneously helps you learn skills to manage nervous system dysregulation.

Go to Resources page to access research on the efficacy of EMDR.

Who is EMDR for?

EMDR is widely known as a trauma therapy; however, EMDR HAS BEEN SHOWN TO BE EFFECTIVE WITH MANY ISSUES.

EMDR can also help:                                                                                                    

               Experience more joy and ease                                                            

               •Feel empowered to claim identities marginalized by society

               •Have enhanced creativity and productivity                                       

               •Improve physical health and sense of well-being

               •Have better emotional self-awareness, self-regulation, self-compassion, and self-talk

               •Have increased ability to give and receive love and to feel secure in relationships

               •Overcome symptoms of anxiety, depression, anger, shame, dissociation, and more

How does EMDR work?

Your brain tries to protect you from the pain of an adverse event by organizing and understanding the experience. However, sometimes the event overwhelms the brain’s ability to process it. Instead, your brain stores the unprocessed memory in emotions, beliefs, and bodily sensations. EMDR helps your brain sort out the memory and put the pieces where they belong. When that happens, the distress from the event dissipates.

How do you do EMDR?

EMDR is a treatment model with 8-phases. A complete assessment of your history, background, and current emotional, physical, mental, and social states is the first phase. Next, stabilization, relaxation, and grounding exercises are practiced, increasing your ability to regulate your nervous system. During the reprocessing and desensitization phase, bilateral stimulation, through eye movement, tapping, or binaural sounds, is used to “jump start” the brain in processing a traumatic event or maladaptive belief. The remaining phases involve ensuring the distress is cleared from mind and body and installing positive beliefs.


EMDR can be done in a typical therapy “hour” (between 45-60 minutes) or in intensive sessions. In an hour session, the first 10-15 minutes are used to report significant events that occurred between sessions, discuss symptoms or triggers that emerged, and reevaluate distress around the event processed in the previous session. Then 20-30 minutes is spent reprocessing and desensitizing the event. The last 10-15 minutes of the session is used to wrap up with grounding and stabilizing exercises. To have more than 30 minutes of reprocessing time, EMDR intensives are an option.

What is an EMDR Intensive?

EMDR Intensives are highly structured and prolonged EMDR sessions. Following a 5-hour assessment and preparation appointment, EMDR desensitization sessions are scheduled. These are often about 2 hours, aimed at accelerating your healing by providing longer reprocessing time (about 90 minutes instead of 30). An intensive may be a single 2-hour session or several 2-hour sessions over consecutive days.



Why would I choose hourly sessions over intensives?

  • You prefer the slower pace and gradual processing of weekly therapy.

  • You prefer more time between sessions to recover and integrate the work.

  • You prefer to have more flexibility in the format of your session. You sometimes want to do EMDR and sometimes want to talk about other things in your life.

  • You prefer Insurance to cover most of the cost. Insurance does not cover sessions longer than 60 minutes.

  • You want to use a highly effective therapy. EMDR is a highly effective therapy with long lasting gains, whether your sessions are 60 minutes or 120.

Why would I choose intensives over hourly sessions?

  • You prefer to make significant progress in a short amount of time. An intensive approach allows for more sessions in a shorter time frame, which can lead to a faster resolution of symptoms. 

  • You find weekly sessions inconvenient. You prefer the condensed format instead of carving out time on an ongoing basis, interrupting your work or parenting.

  • You appreciate a more focused approach. Time in sessions focuses only on the treatment goals with much less time spent on intros, wrap ups, and current crises.

  • You have a sense of urgency to attend to your issues. Your work, family life, or romantic relationship is at immediate risk. You don’t have the luxury of waiting months or years for a significant shift.

  • You want to potentially spend less money on therapy in the long run since you are seeing results much faster. While a larger upfront cost, the shorter duration of treatment can result in saving money.

  • You already have a great therapist who you don’t want to leave, but you really need profound change on a specific problem. You’d like a dose of EMDR before returning to talk therapy. EMDR Intensives can be adjunct to your regular therapy. 

  • You want to use a highly effective therapy. EMDR is a highly effective therapy with long lasting gains, whether your sessions are 60 minutes or 120.

Which should I choose?

Ultimately, the choice between an intensive or weekly approach will depend on your specific needs, therapeutic goals, and personal preferences.


Click the icon to schedule a meet and greet. We can discuss which format may be right for you. 

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