WHAT DOES EMDR STAND FOR?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a type of therapy, created by Dr. Robin Shapiro, that is now widely accepted as a research-supported, effective treatment for trauma and other adverse life experiences. By dictionary definition, trauma is any event that has had a lasting negative effect. The word trauma often evokes images of those big events you see in the news. War veterans, survivors of natural catastrophes and terrorist attacks, these are the sufferers of trauma in media and society at large. However, we all know people who have lost jobs, loved ones, even possessions and who have truly suffered as a result. When you lose your peace of mind, there can be serious physical and psychological consequences no matter what the cause.
HOW IS EMDR DIFFERENT THAN TALK THERAPY?
EMDR involves processing on a physiological level and allows new associations, insights, and emotions to emerge spontaneously. This approach utilizes a very specific set of procedures to support your brain's own healing mechanisms. EMDR is the only type of therapy that can be done consecutively and still be effective. Multiple studies indicate that 84 to 90 percent of the people using EMDR—victims of rape, natural disaster, the loss of a child, catastrophic illness, or other trauma—have recovered from post-traumatic stress in only five hours of treatment (source).
WHAT TYPES OF PROBLEMS CAN EMDR WORK FOR?
Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for the following: - post-traumatic stress (PTSD) - panic attacks - complicated grief - dissociative disorders - disturbing memories - phobias - pain disorders - performance anxiety - stress reduction - addictions - sexual and/or physical abuse
HOW CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT EMDR?
I am available to explain EMDR therapy more in depth if you are interested in it or we will collaboratively decide if it is a good fit for you during your appointment. Please visit the following resources for more information about EMDR Therapy:
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY EMDR INTENSIVE?
The Intensive is formatted to offer consecutive hours of EMDR therapy several days in a row. The purpose of the EMDR Intensive is to provide relief from symptoms that persistently interfere with the quality of your life. You will be able to identify the negative beliefs that have been holding you back and examine how helpful those beliefs really are. Together, we can reprocess and let go of those negative beliefs, embracing more positive beliefs that will help you live the life you are yearning for. You will be able to see your life story through the lens of love and empathy instead of pain, shame, or guilt.
IS THE EMDR INTENSIVE RIGHT FOR ME?
The EMDR Intensive is for people who are ready to dive in and commit to shifting the impact of distressing events, memories, triggers, and feelings. It is important that you are engaged in psychotherapy and that your therapist is willing to coordinate with me. If you are not already in therapy, I can work with you to find someone who is a good fit. This style of therapy is not for everyone. I take great care in determining whether you are prepared to do this type of work. After an initial consultation with you, and also receiving collateral information from your therapist, we will collaborate and see if or when it is appropriate for you to do an Intensive.
HOW DO I PLAN FOR MY EMDR INTENSIVE?
Discuss the idea with your therapist and then call to set up an initial consultation. If you are not local to Denver, the consultation can be done over a secure video telehealth platform. You will be asked to fill out paperwork before the consultation, which will allow me to contact and speak with your therapist. After the consultation, if this form of therapy appears to be a good fit, we will choose the dates together for your Intensive and you will be provided with more information.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS THAT YOU OR YOUR CLIENT MAY EXPERIENCE?
People who have been in therapy tend to have more insight, can communicate their needs, and have reliable and effective coping skills. These strengths combined with the safe, nurturing relationship with the primary therapist, leads to excellent EMDR treatment compliance and therefore greater symptom reduction. Therapists who I have shared clients with reported the following: - The client recalled memories that significantly shaped their childhood but that they never discussed in individual therapy. The client felt comfortable bringing these memories into individual sessions which led to deeper work. - Clients shifted their world-view and were more reality-based in therapy. Instead of the treatment being problem-focused, the primary therapist worked on integrating new insights and positive beliefs about the self. - The therapist reported that the work accomplished in EMDR made treatment planning clear and manageable. Broad treatment goals became more specific and strengths-based. - Clients reported that the adaptive beliefs (e.g., “It’s not my fault) developed in therapy moved from an intellectual understanding to now being experienced on a deeper level in their body and gut.
WHAT IS THE NEED FOR AN INTENSIVE FORMAT?
EMDR has been a life changing gift for my clinical work and the lives of my clients. I pursued this idea because I want to take full advantage of this unique and adaptive therapy approach. My biggest roadblock when implementing EMDR on a typical weekly basis with clients is the time constraint. I wanted to build an experience that would not be limited by time constraints as my clients move into new insights and intense emotions. Sometimes with weekly EMDR sessions, clients report leaving the office feeling overwhelmed, raw, and emotional after a hard session. In this Intensive, the client now has the time and a safe space to recover and reflect.
WHAT WILL CARE COORDINATION LOOK LIKE?
After the initial consultation, the client signs a release of information for the primary therapist and I thenset up a phone call with the provider to discuss the appropriateness of this treatment. Notes for primary therapists: Please consider completing the MID with your client to assess for structural dissociation. Clients who are highly dissociative and in the early phases of therapy are typically not well-suited for this style of therapy. I have attached the assessment here or you can visit www.MID-assessment.com for more information. For clients with early attachment injuries or histories of abandonment, I will take special care to coordinate with you in supporting your client. The intensive format of therapy comes with some clinical considerations that you and I will discuss to ensure high quality and competent care. Thank you for the referral! Please reach out to me with any questions.
IS THERE EXCLUSIONARY CRITERIA?
People who are pregnant or engaged in legal proceedings associated with the trauma are not eligible. Clients with a history of significant cardiac, respiratory, or neurological disorders will be required to provide clearance from their physician. Other factors such as dissociative symptoms, suicidality, and self-harming behaviors will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
IS THE EMDR INTENSIVE THEORETICALLY SOUND?
EMDR has a wide body of research supporting its effectiveness. Dr. Shapiro, the founder of EMDR, stated in her book EMDR: The Breakthrough Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma: Multiple studies indicate that 84 to 90 percent of the people using EMDR—victims of rape, natural disaster, the loss of a child, catastrophic illness, or other trauma—have recovered from posttraumatic stress in only five hours of treatment. Before EMDR, that success rate was unheard of. (p. 17) I am happy to report that the idea of consecutive days of EMDR is supported by Dr. Shapiro. Here is a quote from Dr. Shapiro in an interview with Ruth Wetherford in 2014: But let’s say it’s going to take three sessions to finish an individual trauma—you can do that morning and afternoon, or you can do it three consecutive days. In other words, the treatment can be done in days or weeks, rather than months or years. And because all of the therapy is done with the clinician, they don’t have to go out and confront negative feelings and experiences on their own in order to try to make things change. Please see the following quote from Shapiro (2009) in an interview with Marilyn Luber: Since EMDR does not use homework, I would like to see controlled research investigating its use on consecutive days so that it can be incorporated more on the battlefield. In fact, the ability to use EMDR on consecutive days should be investigated for disaster response, and the ability to speed up the treatment time for all diagnoses. For instance, it can potentially help to maintain greater stabilization for our most debilitated clients by moving through the processing of difficult memories in days rather than weeks. Other treatments, which need daily homework to achieve their effects, necessitate weekly treatment. EMDR does not, and that can have important treatment implications in many time-limited settings. Other prominent therapists are already successful with the intensive format, such as Dr. Sandra Paulsen and Dr. Ricky Greenwald. Some research is beginning to emerge on the effectiveness of the model including this pilot study and this case study.