WHAT IS EMDR?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an evidenced based 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.
EMDR is based on the Adaptive Information Processing theory developed by Francine Shapiro states that trauma and traumatic experiences can produce memories that are very distressing for individuals. At that time of the event, the memory does not fully get processed or integrated in our nervous system and brain. It can cause difficulty for individuals in the future. As individuals grow up and go about life, they can have negative beliefs, thoughts and physical sensations that are associated with the past trauma that get triggered. Until those memories are adequately fully processed, a person cannot function at their best. EMDR is all about resolving those problematic memories by processing them fully thus bringing the individual into the present with more associated positive beliefs of the self. More presence and distance from past traumatic experiences.
The American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.K. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs/Dept. of Defense, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the World Health Organization among many other national and international organizations recognize EMDR therapy as an effective treatment.
HOW DOES EMDR WORK?
Our brains have a natural way to recover from traumatic memories and events. This process involves communication between the amygdala (the alarm signal for stressful events), the hippocampus (which assists with learning, including memories about safety and danger), and the prefrontal cortex (which analyzes and controls behavior and emotion). While many times traumatic experiences can be managed and resolved spontaneously, they may not be processed without help.
Stress responses are part of our natural fight, flight, or freeze instincts. When distress from a disturbing event remains, the upsetting images, thoughts, and emotions may create an overwhelming feeling of being back in that moment, or of being “frozen in time.” EMDR therapy helps the brain process these memories, and allows normal healing to resume. The experience is still remembered, but the fight, flight, or freeze response from the original event is resolved.
In a nutshell, instead of talking about unpleasant thoughts, feelings, EMDR works to let the brain heal itself. It integrates the mind and body through the process of eye movements. In trauma informed care, we now understand that talk therapy, a top-down approach, does not sufficiently integrate experiences in our life that leave us feeling sad, hopeless and lost. When we are just talking about the trauma it can re-traumatize individuals. It might feel good at the moment but individuals may still feel anxious or have unpleasant body or somatic sensations. EMDR therapy helps to support the brain and body working together which decreases disturbances in the body and mind.
EMDR is an eight-phase protocol. So, you won’t begin to process these disturbances right away. We will work together to build “resourcing skills'' or coping skills to use when emotions feel overwhelming or the thoughts seem too much. Then we will create a targeted plan that will narrow in on specific moments in time and associated negative beliefs that get linked to many challenges that you are experiencing.
How long are EMDR Retreats/Intensives?Intensives are usually 1-2 full days or up to 3 half days with dedicated space in between days to allow for integration. However, everyone's experiences and needs may vary. Depending upon your level of motivation or scheduling needs, a large amount of EMDR therapy can be effectively compressed into a shorter period of time. A half-day intensive offers a multitude of resources and can help to either increase performance and confidence, or significantly decrease the devastating effects of single event trauma (e.g. negative cognitions, disturbing emotions and body sensations). While significant healing can occur in one half-day intensive, Complex PTSD deserves more treatment than one half-day intensive. Many of my clients experiencing Complex PTSD may continue to work on their trauma histories through monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly half-day intensives. When you are engaging in EMDR therapy, you do not need to necessarily go out and practice a skill. When done intensively, individuals report a sense of well being sooner, more freedom from the past and a decrease in the symptoms that bring them into therapy.
Why an EMDR Intensive?EMDR therapy, rather than focusing on changing the emotions, thoughts, or behaviors resulting from the distressing issue, allows the brain to resume its natural healing process. EMDR therapy is designed to resolve unprocessed traumatic memories in the brain. When EMDR is done intensely, clients are able to find more freedom and presence from the past. After your session it is recommended that you be free from distraction. This will allow you time to relax, process the training and spend time allowing for integration of your EMDR session. Sessions take place in the Mariposa Healing Center Office located in Denver, Colorado. Traveling clients are responsible for their own airfare and accommodations. Locations, rates, and suggestions for convenient accommodations may be provided upon request.
How do I sign up for an Intensive Retreat?Contact Susanne here.
Why an intensive instead of a normal 60-minute psychotherapy session?EMDR intensives allow the opportunity to progress through your symptoms in a more succinct and focused way without the interruption of a 60-minute session. An intensive format may decrease overall treatment time because of time not spent on: a) checking in at the beginning of each session, b) addressing current crises and concerns, c) focusing on stabilizing and coping skills that the client won’t need after healing, or d) assisting the client in regaining composure at the end of the session.
If I’m already a weekly client, can I participate in an EMDR intensive?"Yes. EMDR intensives for current clients are available in modified formats and pricing.
If I already have a primary therapist, can I do an EMDR intensive as ADJUNCT therapy?"Yes. Perhaps you’ve a felt sense that something profound has yet to change, but you’re not quite sure how to shift all the way into a new experience of yourself with your current therapist. Maybe you now cognitively understand new things, yet your body is still confused, so you’re curious about how adjunct EMDR intensive therapy can help. We will identify what format is best for you during your initial consultation.
What can I expect to accomplish in a 3-day weekday or weekend intensive?Participating in a 3-day (weekday or weekend) EMDR intensive may create impactful change more efficiently than just weekly, 60-minute sessions or even one half-day intensive. We will identify what format is best for you during your initial consultation.
Can my insurance help pay for this program?Yes. Many insurance companies reimburse a significant portion of the cost of psychotherapy. For insurance purposes, I am considered an out-of-network provider. It's best to determine the exact details of your policy ahead of time, including what benefits are available regarding out-of-network providers and if your insurance will reimburse several hours of therapy in one day or one week. I will provide you with a Superbill for all direct contact therapy services included in the program.
What is the research in support of EMDR Retreats?EMDR 5 Day Intensive Research 2018 EMDR Intensies for Severe PTSD Research EMDR Intensives for Borderline DX Research EMDR Intensives with Veterans PTSD Research 2018 EMDR Intensives Case Series Research 2017