Our Approach to EMDR
An EMDR therapist can be helpful in healing trauma, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. You may have experienced trauma in the form of military combat, childhood abuse, or other trauma such as a severe automobile accident. Trauma often causes severe symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, and severe anxiety that can be exhausting and have a negative effect on family life, work, and quality of life. While no therapist can promise that you will get better with treatment, people often improve with EMDR and experience a reduction or elimination of their symptoms.
I have been doing EMDR for more than twenty years, and I have been privileged to witness powerful transformations in many of my clients. I often combine EMDR with other approaches to therapy, such as mindfulness, for optimal results. (Please note that I do not work with dissociative disorders; if you have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), I recommend that you work with a therapist who specializes in DID in order to get optimal results).
If you would like to initiate therapy with me, please click on the link below, and you will be routed to my office phone.
My rates are $150 per 50 minute session. I accept Medicare and I am an out-of-network provider for other insurance plans.
Q. What is EMDR?
A. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a type of psychological treatment created by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. to treat trauma. EMDR is a multifaceted process that mixes aspects of cognitive therapy and exposure therapy with periods of eye movements. Sometimes bilateral auditory stimulation (via headphones) or tactile stimulation (via vibrating devices held in each hand) is used instead of eye movements. According to the EMDR Institute website:
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.
Q. When should you seek EMDR therapy?
A. EMDR therapy is designed specifically to treat trauma and emotional distress from disturbing life experiences. It is particularly effective with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If you are troubled by memories from military combat, childhood abuse, or other traumatic events that have occurred (for example a traumatic automobile accident, a rape, or an assault), EMDR may be helpful to you.
Q. How effective is EMDR?
A. According to the EMDR Institute website:
More than 30 positive controlled outcome studies have been done on EMDR therapy. Some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions. Another study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions. There has been so much research on EMDR therapy that it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense. Given the worldwide recognition as an effective treatment of trauma, you can easily see how EMDR therapy would be effective in treating the “everyday” memories that are the reason people have low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, and all the myriad problems that bring them in for therapy. Over 100,000 clinicians throughout the world use the therapy. Millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 25 years.
Q. What should I look for in an EMDR therapist?
A. First, I recommend finding an EMDR therapist with the qualities that any good therapist should have. These qualities include empathy, compassion, patience, emotional intelligence, self-awareness and insight, good interpersonal skills, a strong educational background in psychology and psychotherapy, good boundaries, the ability to explain his or her understanding of your presenting problems and the treatment process, flexibility and the willingness to adapt treatment to your particular needs, sensitivity to your cultural background, and involvement in continuing education. It is also important that your EMDR therapist be someone that you feel comfortable with and someone you feel you can trust.
Second, it is important to find an EMDR therapist who is well-trained in EMDR and who has considerable experience doing EMDR. If possible, I recommend finding an EMDR therapist who has completed more than just the basic EMDR training.
Q. What separates a “good” EMDR therapist from a “bad” one?
A. The best EMDR therapists will be easy to connect with, will go out of their way to understand you, will be compassionate with your suffering, will be able to answer your questions about therapy and EMDR, and will be skilled in the process of EMDR. Better EMDR therapists will have more years of experience doing EMDR and will have more than just basic EMDR training. It may take a few sessions with a new therapist to determine whether he or she is the right therapist for you.
Q. Can EMDR be done via Telehealth?
A. EMDR can be done through Telehealth. It is preferable to do EMDR face to face, but during this COVID-19 pandemic, Teletherapy may be the only safe option available. EMDR by Telehealth can be done using an app that creates bilateral auditory stimulation that can be installed on your smartphone. There may be other ways to do EMDR via Teletherapy as well. Due to EMDR’s potential for stirring up significant emotional distress in the process of healing trauma, planning ahead how the therapist and client will deal with this distress if it becomes problematic is necessary. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have done EMDR by Telehealth successfully.
Q. How much does EMDR cost?
A. The cost will vary with each mental health professional. I charge $150/hour for EMDR.
Q. How do you do EMDR in your practice?
A. I have been doing EMDR for more than twenty years. I practice integrative psychotherapy, and I often augment EMDR with other compatible approaches to therapy, such as mindfulness and mind/body psychotherapy, for optimal results. While no therapist can promise that you will get better with therapy, I have been privileged to witness powerful transformations in many of my clients.
I completed my basic EMDR training more than twenty years ago, and I subsequently did some additional EMDR training:
- EMDR Level I April 2000
- EMDR Level II October 2000
- The Strategic Developmental Model for EMDR, October 2001
- Integrating Resource Installation Strategies into Your EMDR Practice, October 2002
Currently I am doing all Teletherapy in my practice, including EMDR. I look forward to returning to working in my office when the pandemic eases.
EMDR can also be effective with Dissociative Disorders, such as Dissociative Identity Disorder. Please note that I do not work with dissociative disorders; if you have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), I recommend that you work with a therapist who specializes in DID in order to get optimal results.