Getting Started

EMDR therapy is an integrative approach focusing on three time frames: past, present and future. We look at past disturbing memories, current situations causing distress and then develop future scenarios and the skills and attitudes needed to successfully move forward. EMDR therapy simultaneously weakens disturbing memories and strengthens positive memories. These items are all addressed in an eight-phase treatment approach.

Therapists who use EMDR therapy undergo a very intensive training process and adhere to specific protocols and procedures which are adapted for each individual’s specific needs.

8 Phase Treatment Process

Phase 1: Client History

During the first couple of sessions we will explore your history, current distress and what you’d like your life to look like. We will be identifying possible targets for reprocessing including distressing memories and current stressors. We will begin to formulate a memory map that will guide our sessions together.

Phase 2: Preparation

We will spend some time making sure you have several different ways of handing emotional distress. Client’s often need to learn how to calm the body so together we will explore a variety of imagery and stress reduction techniques you can use during and in between sessions. The goal of EMDR therapy is to produce rapid and effective change while maintaining emotional equilibrium in the present.

Phase 3-6: Assessment, Desensitization, Installation and Body Scan

During this phase a target memory is identified to be reprocessed using EMDR therapy. You’ll be asked to hold different aspects of the event or thought in mind including negative and positive beliefs, emotions and somatic feelings while the bi-lateral stimulation is applied. This can be tracking the therapists hand back and forth with your eyes across your field of vision or tracking lights or taps. We will discuss in session what bi-lateral stimulation would work best for you. During this phase of memory reprocessing clients often begin to feel relief as the distressing thought begins to either diminish or fade as more adaptive thoughts are brought into conscious awareness.

Phase 7: Closure

At the end of any session in which unprocessed or disturbing material is activated there is discussion of the session and techniques are introduced to keep you oriented to the present as well as to reduce stress. You’ll be informed the processing may continue after the session and you will be asked to notice during the next week any related material that may come up and keep a log or make mental notes so this can be addressed in the next session.

Phase 8: Reevaluation

In the next session we explore progress made and determine if there are remaining past events or current incidents that cause distress as well as future events that will need different responses. If residual or new material is identified, these are targeted and phases 3-8 are repeated.

Proven, Effective, Safe.

Only licensed clinicians are allowed to take approved EMDR training. The training is extensive and standardized requiring adherence to specific protocols and procedures established by the EMDR International Association.

Is EMDR Talk Therapy?

EMDR is not a talk therapy. While we will talk to better understand your concerns, we will be working to identify the life experiences that contribute to your present discomfort. My focus is to better understand how your brain’s memory system works. Each brain is different and handles memories differently. Real change comes not just from talking about experiences but in reliving the experiences in the present in such a way that they can be reprocessed by the brain.

The reprocessing does not require detailed descriptions of troubling events. In EMDR reprocessing, your brain does the work. Using the detailed protocols and procedures obtained in extensive EMDR training, the therapist’s role is to guide the process and to facilitate the client’s ability to activate their own natural healing processes.

How Long Will It Take?

While every person is different, and session times can vary, EMDR therapy most often resolves issues far more rapidly than traditional talk therapy. The normal course of treatment is usually 3-12 sessions but more complex cases can require more sessions.

Why Try EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy goes beyond talking, gaining more coping skills, or changing self talk because the process itself more quickly gets to resolution that is permanent. EMDR optimizes our capacity to change how memory is encoded in the brain so that what was once a disturbing memory is actually transformed into something that is adaptive. The memory may remain but the negative charge and response is neutralized.



Are you ready to take the next step?