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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is EMDR therapy and what does it stand for?
    EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy. It is an “evidence-based, clinician led psychotherapy” (EMDRIA) that has since been the golden standard in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since its inception, EMDR has proven to be successful with a wide range of somatic issues, mental health problems, and psychiatric disorders. It is an 8 phase, three-pronged approach that is based off of Francine Shapiro’s Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model. The AIP model is the theoretical foundation of EMDR. It posits that the past is in the present. The three-pronged approach refers to the order in which the EMDR protocol is administered in order for successful treatment to occur. The standard protocol for EMDR is 8 phases long, with phases 1-2 taking up multiple sessions, 3-7 typically taking up one session, and 8 taking up another one. “EMDR moves information from dysfunctional to functional. The end result of successful EMDR is adaptive resolution of the trauma. This means that the emotional charge is reduced or eliminated, and there is an objective view or understanding of the incident. Just like the river flows to the sea and the body heals the wound, EMDR clears the trauma and brings integration and wholeness. (…) EMDR removes blockages caused by negative images, beliefs, and body sensations, allowing one’s natural state of well-being and emotional balance to come through. EMDR unlocks what is natural within each of us. It is our innate healing process that has been blocked and can be unblocked with EMDR. There is an inherent wisdom within each person that is already whole, it is just obscured by the traumas.” (Parnell, 2007)
  • What are the 8 phases?
    The 8 phases of EMDR are the procedural steps used to access and process information. These well-defined treatment procedures and protocols facilitate information reprocessing. EMDR utilizes an 8-phase, 3-pronged, approach to treatment that optimizes sufficient client stabilization before, during, and after the reprocessing of distressing and traumatic memories and associated stimuli.(EMDRIA) Phase 1 - History & Treatment Planning Typically between 1 and 2 60-90 minute sessions The first phase involves taking a thorough client history - an essential step for successful EMDR treatment. This might include developmental history, starting from birth, medical history, mental health history, and any contraindications for EMDR therapy, among other things. During this phase, the suitability of EMDR treatment for the client is determined. This phase allows for the therapeutic relationship to develop and/or strengthen - a crucial component to EMDR therapy. It also enables to clinician to better understand the client and to help the client select the best targets for processing. Phase 2 - Preparation This can last anywhere between 1 and 10+ sessions, depending on resourcing needs. In the preparation phase, the clinician gives the client psychoeducation on EMDR processing and trauma, what to expect, and what processing will look like. Informed consent is obtained. The therapeutic relationship continues to strengthen. Here, a stop signal is established, and resourcing takes place. Resourcing refers to the identification and mastery of appropriate self-soothing and affect regulation techniques. These are chosen and done together, and can be anything from breathing techniques and exercises, meditations and guided visualizations. It is absolutely vital to go through this phase as thoroughly as possible prior to processing disturbing memories. Resourcing enhances the ability of the client to experience positive emotions through promoting the development and expansion of positive and adaptive memory networks, thus expanding the window of affect tolerance, and stimulating the development of the capacity for therapeutic relationship. Phase 3 - Assessment Phases 3 through 7 may require between 1-3 90 minute sessions per target. Together, the clinician and the client identify the components the components of the target/issue. Once the memory or issue has been identified, the clinician asks the client to select the image or other sensory experience that best represents it. The clinician then asks for a negative belief that expresses the client’s currently held maladaptive self-assessment that is related to the experience, a positive belief to begin to stimulate a connection between the experience as it is currently held with the adaptive memory network(s) and the validity of the positive belief, utilizing the 7 point Validity of Cognition (VOC) scale. Finally, the clinician asks the client to name the emotions evoked when pairing the image or other sensory experience and the negative belief, to rate the level of disturbance utilizing the 0 to 10 Subjective Units of Disturbance (SUD) scale and to identify the location of the physical sensations in the body that are stimulated when concentrating on the experience. Phase 4 - Desensitization and Reprocessing In this phase, the reprocessing begins. The selected target is activated and reprocessed through bilateral stimulation (BLS). The client is asked to bring up the disturbing images, body sensations, negative cognitions and emotions before adding BLS to the equation. Phase 5 - Installation Once processing has been completed, and the level of disturbance is at a 1 or a 0, the therapist asks the client to check for a potential new positive belief related to the target memory. The client selects a new belief or sticks with the previously established positive cognition. The clinician asks the client to hold this in mind, along with the target memory, and to rate the selected positive belief on the VOC scale of 1 to 7. The therapist then continues alternating bilateral stimulation until the client’s rating of the positive belief reaches the level of 6 or 7 on the VOC Scale. If the VoC is less than a 6, the clinician should check for the appropriateness of the positive cognition, blocking beliefs, or if further processing needs to occur, in which case the client will be redirected back to Phase 4. Phase 6 - Body Scan The body scan is done after the desensitization, reprocessing and installation are complete. The client will be asked to scan their entire body, and to report back any sensations. If positive sensations are reported back, a set of BLS is done to strengthen that. If negative sensations are reported back, the clinician should guide the client back to reprocessing until the feelings are cleared. Phase 7 - Closure The closure phase occurs at the end of any session in which unprocessed, disturbing material has been activated whether the target has been fully reprocessed or not. If the target has been fully reprocessed, discussion of the client’s experience may occur. If the target has not been fully reprocessed, the therapist may used a variety of techniques to re-orient and ground the client fully to the present. The client is reminded that processing continues between sessions, and is asked to observe and log new observations, symptoms, dreams and/or insights. Phase 8 - Re-evaluation 1 60-90 minute session In the final phase, the clinician, utilizing the EMDR standard three-pronged protocol, assesses the effects of previous reprocessing of targets looking for and targeting residual disturbance, new material which may have emerged, current triggers, anticipated future challenges, and systemic issues. If any residual or new targets are present, these are targeted and Phases 3-8 are repeated.
  • What do you mean by “three pronged approach”?
    The three-pronged approach refers to how clinicians organize the information gathered in the first two phases of EMDR treatment (history taking & treatment planning and assessment). It informs the order in which we will go about reprocessing a single target in order to achieve full resolution: The past Identifying and addressing past events, typically “first or worst” The present Identifying and “cleaning out” present circumstances or stressors, internal/external triggers, etc. The future Prepare you for future situations where you might encounter similar circumstances and/or reactions. This is where the development of more adaptive, alternative patterns of response are learned. Through the three-pronged approach, we are “clearing out” old learning and making room for new learning to occur.
  • Can you tell me more about the AIP model?
    The AIP model posits two very important concepts: The past is in the present. Our brain, much like our body, has an innate ability to heal itself. The past is in the present refers to how our mind and body stores traumatic memories. The idea is that “when a person experiences a trauma, it becomes locked into its own memory network as it was experienced - the images, physical sensations, tastes and smells, sounds, and beliefs - as if frozen in time in the body and in the mind. (…) Ordinary daily events seem to pass through us without leaving a mark. Traumatic events, however, often get trapped and form a perpetual blockage. Like a broken record, they repeat themselves in our body-mind over and over again.” Parnell, 2007 The idea is that we are almost “stuck” in the past, and the past informs how we perceive ourselves, others and the world. The things our brain did to (very wisely) adapt to traumatic situations and circumstances are still occurring, even though the threat is no longer present, and are now considered “maladaptive” and harmful to the self. We have an innate ability to heal. The second part of the AIP model is our brains have a beautiful capacity to heal itself. Just like our bodies do: when we cut ourselves, our body knows how to heal the wound. Similarly, though, if debris is stuck in the wound, the body will not be able to heal itself. We have to facilitate healing by cleaning out the debris - or by unblocking a traumatic memory. EMDR facilitates the natural healing process by unblocking. It’s important to note that EMDR will not remove anything that is useful or necessary. It will only clear what is dysfunctional, but it will not remove anything you might need for functioning. It will also not clear emotions that are deemed suitable for a given individual, time and situation. It also cannot clear anything that is true.
  • Is EMDR therapy evidence based?
    EMDR is currently the most extensively researched and supported method used in the treatment of trauma. The EMDR Institute reports: Multiple studies show that 84%-90% of single-incident trauma survivors became free of symptoms after only three 90-minute sessions. For combat veterans with PTSD, one study showed 77% became symptom-free after 12 EMDR sessions. In another study of people with phobias about going to the dentist, over 83% were making regular dentist visits one year later after three sessions of EMDR therapy.
  • How does EMDR therapy work?
    Many theories about how EMDR works are primarily based on observed clinical effets. EMDR practitioners integrate patterned eye movements or other BLS with talk therapy techniques to clear emotional, cognitive, and physical blockages. In theory, traumas leave unprocessed memories, feelings and thoughts that can be reprocessed or “metabolized” with BLS. Similar to the way rapid eye movement (REM) or dream sleep works, the eye movements help to process this blocked information, allowing the body-mind to release it. Dreams each night cleanse the body-mind of the day’s residues. It seems that some particularly strong dreams that are related to past events are the body-mind’s attempt to heal. The problem is that during disturbing dreams, the eye movements are often disrupted, and one wakes up, thus not allowing the REM sleep to complete its job. With EMDR, which is different from dreams, the therapist keeps the eyes moving back-and-forth and guides the client into focusing on the traumatic event. This allows the event to be fully experienced and reintegrated. EMDR clinicians have found that hand tapping and bilateral sounds are also effective in stimulating the reprocessing of material. Perhaps the stimulation of the two hemispheres of the brain causes the reprocessing effect. There is also a theory that the eye movements are linked with the hippocampus, which is linked to the consolidation of memory. Another theory is that the dual attention the client maintains with EMDR, focusing simultaneously on the inner feelings and the eye movements, allows the alerted brain to metabolize whatever it is witnessing.
  • What is bilateral stimulation and how is it used?
    Bilateral stimulation (BLS) is one of the key components to EMDR therapy. It refers to the use of a stimulus (something you can see, hear or feel) that crosses the body in a rhythmic pattern. An everyday example of this would be pedaling a bicycle. In EMDR therapy, we achieve BLS through left-right eye movements, shoulder or thigh tapping, auditory sounds or tactile buzzers. BLS is an essential part of EMDR that facilitates unlocking the part of the brain that is storing the traumatic memory, as well as the emotions, thoughts and feelings that accompany the memory. BLS is used during the resourcing phase at a very slow pace, and at a quicker pace during the reprocessing, desensitization and installing phase.
  • Is EMDR therapy only good for trauma?
    This is the most common misconception about EMDR therapy. When EMDR was first gaining momentum as a new form of psychotherapy, research was necessary in order to validate its efficacy in reducing symptoms and creating quantifiable change. As a result, numerous randomized controlled studies have shown EMDR to be one of the most effective therapies for treating traumatic memories and the symptoms Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, EMDR therapy has since evolved to best meet the needs of most clients, and therapists have seen the efficacy of EMDR in their clinical work with common issues such as anxiety, stress, depression, eating disorders, performance enhancement, grief…
  • What are the different types of trauma?
    Trauma can be separated into two categories: big “T” traumas and little “t” traumas, or as shock trauma and developmental trauma. Shock trauma Typically involves a sudden threat that is perceived by the central nervous system as overwhelming and/or life threatening. Typically a single-episode event. Has a lasting negative effect on one’s sense of safety in the world. Shock trauma, or big “T” traumas include, but are not limited to: Man-made disasters, such as explosions, wars, fires, acts of terrorism. War and combat related incidents. Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, forest fires, floods. Physical assaults. Sexual assaults. Serious accidents such as car or bike accidents, plane crashes, serious falls. Major life changes, such as serious illnesses and loss of a loved one. Major surgeries, such as heart bypasses. Life threatening illnesses, such as cancer. Ongoing life events, such as sexual abuse or domestic violence. Developmental trauma Small “t” traumas refer to events that occur over time and gradually affect and alter the neurological system to the point that it remains in a traumatic state. This type of trauma can cause interruptions in a child’s natural psychological growth. It can have a lasting negative effect on one’s sense of self (self-confidence, self-esteem, self-definition), sense of others, as well as one’s sense of safety in the world. Examples of developmental trauma, or small “t” traumas, include, but are not limited to: Moving multiple times during childhood. Excessive teasing or bullying. Growing up in an unsafe or unstable environment. Constant criticism. Abandonment or long-term separation from a parent. Betrayals. Rejections. Losing jobs. Physical neglect. Emotional neglect. Chronic harassment. Divorce. Witnessing parental conflict. Persistent physical illnesses. Death of pets. Unmet developmental needs. Public shaming, humiliation, or failure. Disparaging remarks.
  • What is the neuroscience behind this?
    Traumatic memories are stored differently than other memories. Traumatic memories are stored in the right hemisphere in fragmented, unintegrated form. In our first few years of life, our memories are stored as implicit memories. Those memories, like traumatic memories, are stored in the right hemisphere as emotional, behavioral, somatic, perceptual and nonverbal. Psychological trauma causes dissassociation of hemispheric processing. The left hemisphere - which is responsible for verbal and motor control, the manipulation of words and symbols, and the sequential processing of information - is locked out, and memory is encoded only as implicit memory in the right hemisphere. Memory remains in fragmented form as somatic sensations and intense affect states and is not collated and transcribed into personal narratives (explicit memories). It appears that terror blocks the hippocampus so that information will not go to explicit memory. If a person is triggered by something in their life that activates their implicit memory, it feels “timeless” - like it is happening now. Trauma interferes with the evaluation, classification, and contextualization of experiences. Memory remains as implicit memory stored in the limbic system, which is responsible for fleeing, fighting, feeding, and reproduction. In the limbic system, the amygdala attaches emotional meaning to incoming information. It passes the information on to the hippocampus, which is the brain’s early warning system, telling it whether the information is dangerous or not. The hippocampus filters out irrelevant information, evaluates what goes on, and files it. For traumatized people, because the amygdala-to-hippocampus connection is disrupted, the information is not integrated and filed. Information is left in fragmented form. When a person experiences a trauma, the left anterior frontal lobe known as Broca’s area - the language part of the brain - is deactivated. This deactivation of Broca’s area causes “speechless terror” for many traumatized people and they can’t talk about or understand their experience with words. They feel intense emotions without being able to put a label on what they are experiencing. Parnell, 2007
  • Is EMDR therapy the same as hypnosis?
    An EMDR session is not the same as Hypnosis. During an EMDR session you are entirely present and in control during the whole process. Here are a few differences between EMDR therapy and Hypnosis: EMDR therapy is an integrative psychotherapy model. Bilateral stimulation is utilized. During the desensitization phase of EMDR, the client may be in a state of heightened emotional arousal, whereas in hypnotherapy the client is usually in a deep hypnotic state. EMDR clinicians follow a set procedure and lacks clinician suggestibility, whereas hypnosis does the opposite. Memory retrieval is not the primary focus with EMDR, as it is with hypnosis. Eyes are usually open in EMDR therapy. They are closed during hypnosis. EMDR does not induce a trance state. Images of memories generally become more distant and less vivid. Dual focus of attention is deliberately maintained at all times.
  • Can I do EMDR therapy to myself? Why do I need a clinician for this?
    Please refrain from using EMDR therapy by yourself. In fact, even us clinicians, who are extensively trained in this approach, are discouraged from using EMDR therapy on ourselves. EMDR is a complex and intensive therapy. Just like you would go to a doctor to get a wound stitched up, it is recommended that you consult an EMDR trained clinician for reprocessing.
  • Can I be on medication and still do EMDR therapy?
    Yes and no. While most medications will not impact EMDR treatment, it is still strongly encouraged that you discuss any medications that you are taking with your clinician.
  • Who informs your approach to EMDR therapy?
    My training was done through Thrive Training and Publications, so my approach is certainly informed by Chris Floro, the head trainer at Thrive Training. Other Master EMDR clinicians have greatly influenced my approach to EMDR therapy: Dr. Laurel Parnell Deany Laliotis Dr. Arielle Schwartz The former two heavily emphasize attachment in their approach, while Dr. Schwartz approaches EMDR through a somatic lens.
  • Is there any paperwork involved?
    Yes. As with any of my clients, whether you are seeing me for EMDR or traditional talk therapy, you will be asked to fill out an intake form and sign a therapy agreement. For EMDR, there is a bit more paperwork. I will also be asking you to sign an informed consent form, and will be sending you two important documents: A “client guide and journal” which details what EMDR is and discusses things such as negative cognitions, the window of tolerance, has resources and provides you with a space to journal and log triggers/insights, etc. This document is sent after our initial 30 minute meeting, so you can get a better idea of what EMDR is before going forward with a full session. Once we decide to go forward with a full session, which will involve some history taking, I will send you an “EMDR workbook”. This document is divided into three parts: before processing, during processing and after processing. The workbook is meant to help guide you and support you throughout your EMDR journey with me. The first part of the workbook will help both of us when tailoring our treatment plan to uniquely fit your wants and needs. This workbook can be done alone or together. It is important to remember that neither document is mandatory. They are helpful but not crucial.
  • What will our initial sessions look like?
    Our first few EMDR sessions will be different from future sessions. They will be specifically geared towards getting to know each other better, and getting a better understanding if EMDR is a good fit for you. I will invite you to share more about yourself, for example: your history, your present, your experiences, what has worked or not worked for your mental health in the past… Some questions that I might ask during a first session include: What brought you to seek EMDR therapy at this time? What goals would you like to reach by doing EMDR therapy? What do I need to know about you to understand your current challenges? We will also discuss what EMDR therapy looks like, establish a “stop signal”, conduct some assessments and talk about your developmental history, among other things. I will also give you the two documents mentioned in previous FAQ answers: the client guide and journal as well as the EMDR client workbook. This is also an opportunity for you to ask as many questions as you’d like. You might be curious as to why I’m a therapist, how I’ve helped other clients, how I work… I put transparency at the forefront from the get-go, so you can ask any questions you may have.
  • What happens in between sessions?
    As EMDR enables the processing of traumatic events, often people describe feeling emotionally and physically tired after the session. Processing typically continues after the session, therefore you may notice in between sessions that new memories come to mind, new insights emerge, or an increase in the number of vivid dreams or nightmares. During this time, it is recommend that you take care of yourself, making sure you use the techniques we have practiced together during the resourcing phase. It is also recommended that you keep a note of these experiences so that we can discuss them the next time we meet. If anything comes up that feels too disturbing or overwhelming, you are invited to give me a call (my number will be provided).
  • Will we be doing EMDR therapy in the first session?
    Technically, yes. EMDR is a comprehensive, 8 phase full treatment approach that begins with history taking and treatment planning in the first phase. If you’ve ever experienced any kind of therapy before, most therapists are taking a history and creating a treatment plan in the first session— this is not unique to EMDR but it is an essential part of EMDR. So, that’s what I mean when I say yes, we are doing EMDR in the first session. However, most people erroneously believe EMDR is simply the “eye movement” piece. That doesn’t come until phase 4. It’s important to note that the phases are not synonymous with the number of sessions. Phase 1 (history and treatment planning) could take 1 or several sessions. The bilateral stimulation piece of phase 4 could also take 1 or several sessions. This is another reason why it’s challenging to say how many sessions are needed. In short, an EMDR therapist is technically always doing EMDR— it just may not be the eponymous eye movement, desensitization, or reprocessing phases.
  • How many sessions will I need?
    This varies dramatically based on the person, how they process and what areas they want to work on when they begin EMDR. Some people begin EMDR therapy with a very specific area that they want to focus on and in that case they will often find the resolution, relief and change that they were seeking in 4-6 sessions. Other people are more interested in their overall personal growth and development and may want to work on change in multiple areas of their life with EMDR which would involve a more in-depth process. It’s important to keep in mind that EMDR processes memories and disturbances, which can leave room for other memories to resurface. It’s also important to remember that single-event traumas are faster to process than more complex, multiple traumas (e.g. developmental traumas). Most people come in with more complex traumas, which means we might spend a lot more time in resourcing, and that processing a single target might take longer.
  • Can I stay with my current therapist and still receive EMDR therapy from you?
    Yes. This is called adjunctive EMDR therapy. Adjunctive therapy does not replace or interrupt ongoing therapy. It is complementary to the primary therapeutic relationship. With adjunctive EMDR therapy clients remain under the care and continue to receive treatment with their original therapist. The process entails well focused and clearly defined issues to address with EMDR such as intrusive memories, flashbacks, negative thoughts or feelings about themselves or others that just don’t change or go away in traditional treatment. Usually this type of adjunctive therapy is short term (4-12 sessions) to assist clearing up any single incident trauma or simple phobias that is interfering with the client making therapeutic gains. The success of the treatment is based on well focused and clearly defined goals for the EMDR therapist as defined by the primary therapist and client.
  • Can we do both EMDR and talk therapy?
    Absolutely. In fact, we will more than likely be doing a combination of both, with the exception of during phases 4-7. Phases 4-7 are best done with minimal discussion from the therapist, in order to honor your brain’s innate healing powers and ability to free associate. Outside of those phases, we will be doing a fair amount of talk therapy, about your history, your experiences, your new insights, how you’re experiencing EMDR therapy… EMDR is a great approach, but it’s even better when coupled with one or more additional approaches.
  • How often should I be doing EMDR therapy?
    Ideally, we would be meeting weekly. Every two weeks is do-able on a case-by-case basis.
  • Can we do EMDR therapy virtually? How?
    Yes. For online EMDR therapy sessions, I use a different tool than the physical tappers I use for in-person sessions. Virtual processing will take the form of eye movements via a platform called This platform also incorporates audio and tactile bilateral stimulation. All of these methods accomplish the same goal: activating both sides of your brain to support reprocessing.
  • How long is an EMDR therapy session?
    An EMDR therapy session can vary between 60 and 90 minutes. On rare occasions, 2 hours might be needed. The time needed is unique to each client, what they’re processing and how they process. Our first time processing together will be a 90 minute session, which will allow us to see if we need more or less time going forward.
  • Will there always be a resolution by the end of the session? What happens if there isn’t?
    Ideally, by the end of an EMDR session, there will be a sense of resolution and a feeling that things have shifted. However, it is important to keep in mind that some experiences and beliefs are more deeply rooted in our core and that, like an onion, sometimes we peel one layer away to find that there is another layer to work on. Similarly, some traumatic experiences are more complex than single incident traumas (i.e. constant verbal abuse in childhood compared to a car accident) and may require more time to process completely. If you reach the end of an EMDR session and it doesn’t feel like there has been a complete sense of resolution, I will guide you in the process of containing the content that you were working on so that you are able to leave the session without feeling disturbed or activated.
  • Do I have to do EMDR therapy every session?
    There is certainly no pressure to do EMDR every session. Most people find a balance that involves a combination of EMDR sessions and talk therapy sessions. Sometimes, after doing an EMDR session, it can be helpful to spend the following session debriefing and using talk therapy to reflect on what has been processed, what changes have been noticed, and areas to address in the future.
  • What is resourcing and why do I have to do it?
    Resourcing refers to the identification and instillation of coping skills to help you deal with difficult reactions that you may experience. During and outside of our sessions together, you can utilize resourcing to keep you calm and in the present moment. Resourcing is a personal preference, and we will work together to develop resources that work best for you. For individuals who have experienced complex trauma and dissociative symptoms, resourcing may take many sessions. Completion of this phase ensures that you are emotionally stable to access and process disturbing material.
  • What is the EMDR workbook? Do I have to do it?
    The EMDR workbook is a PDF file that I will be giving you during the first couple of sessions. It is meant to help support and guide you throughout your healing journey, and to help us come up with an individualized treatment plan. It is divided into three parts: before processing, during processing and after processing. The workbook includes questions, assessments and exercises, for example: Attachment style assessment Communication style assessment Developmental history Parts work This workbook can be done together or alone. It is not mandatory, nor is it a crucial component to our work together. Rather, it is a helpful tool, and it is your choice if you would like to utilize it or not.
  • What kind of bilateral stimulation do you use?
    In office, I have what are called “tappers”. These are portable handheld devices that provide vibrations, alternating between hands. Tappers are lightweight, convenient and adjustable to your individual preferences. Virtually, I use an online platform called This platform utilizes a ball to engage eye movements.
  • Is it possible that once we’ve agreed to work together that you may not recommend EMDR for me? If so, what happens next?
    Yes, this could be the case. I cannot guarantee that EMDR therapy would be the best form of treatment for you from just a 30 minute initial consultation. And, even once we start working together, I can’t know ahead of time how you will personally respond to EMDR. Every client responds differently to treatment, and it is more important that you get what you want out of therapy rather than making sure we do a certain kind of therapy. If EMDR (or any other form of therapy for that matter) is not helpful to you, we will discuss other approaches or if I am the right fit for your needs.
  • If we agree to work together, do I have to receive EMDR therapy?
    Not at all. You have the right to decline any treatment modality or intervention that I suggest in our work together. While EMDR is an evidence-based therapy and a widely used treatment method for a number of concerns, it may not be best for your particular presenting problem. Additionally, I may not be the most appropriate therapist to treat your concern with EMDR. If this is the case, I may propose another approach or I can make referrals to other EMDR therapists who may be able to help. If you are interested in EMDR therapy, let’s take some time to discuss this. If I believe that EMDR would be an effective form of treatment for your presenting concern, we will explore the process and possible risks and benefits before incorporating it into our work together.
  • What can EMDR help with?
    Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Clinicians have also successfully used EMDR as a treatment component in the management of: Depression Anxiety Panic attacks Complicated grief Performance enhancement Pain disorders Body dysmorphic disorders Eating disorders Sexual or physical abuse Performance anxiety Stress reduction Disturbing memories Phobias
  • What can EMDR therapy NOT help with?
    EMDR can be beneficial for most people. However, it is contraindicated for women in their first trimester of pregnancy or who have a high-risk pregnancy. Those with heart or lung conditions must consult with and have approval from their doctor before going forward with EMDR. Eye movements are contraindicated for those with eye or neurological issues - again, please consult and have approval from your doctor/neurologist/ophthalmologist.
  • Are there any side effects to EMDR treatment?
    As per the EMDR Institute: As with any form of psychotherapy, there may be a temporary increase in distress. distressing and unresolved memories may emerge some clients may experience reactions during a treatment session that neither they nor the administering clinician may have anticipated, including a high level of emotion or physical sensations subsequent to the treatment session, the processing of incidents/material may continue, and other dreams, memories feelings, etc., may emerge.
  • What if I don’t want my first EMDR therapy session to focus on the really awful thing from my past?
    That is absolutely okay. Everyone has varying levels of comfort when it comes to talking about painful experiences. It is very understandable that, as you are beginning to work with a therapist and get a feel for what an EMDR session might look like, that you might not want to delve into something that feels really scary, overwhelming or daunting. My approach to EMDR processing is conservative. I like to start with what I can a “pilot” - meaning targeting something present or future, and mildly disturbing (distress level of 5 and below on a scale of 0-10). This sets us up for success: it gives you confidence in EMDR and in your own natural ability to process painful, disturbing things. It also helps you increase your ability to handle the tough stuff by realizing that you can think about it and it can be disturbing, but that you are the one in control, now. Understanding that you are in control is a huge part of EMDR. You are in the driver’s seat, your therapist is just the GPS. You’re driving, I’m just giving you alternative routes to get to where you need to go. So, if something is too scary to access at any given moment, you have the autonomy to not go there just yet.
  • What if I can’t think of what in the past is linked up with the current situation?
    There is no pressure or need to be able to identify what past experience might be impacting the present when you begin an EMDR session. A large part of the ease and success of EMDR is that it is very organic and holistic as a treatment and relies on the foundation that the body wants to restore balance and adaptively process information. Not all situations or experiences in the present are linked up with past experiences. Your therapist will help guide you through the process of determining if there is an earlier experience that needs to be addressed and cleared before the issue in the present is addressed and cleared.
  • I am afraid that if I open my feelings up I won’t be able to contain them (i.e. won’t stop crying, uncontrollable anger, tremendous fear etc.).
    This is a very common concern for people, and the willingness to seek out therapy of any form takes a lot of courage. In the healing process it is frequently said that you will feel worse before you begin to feel better (think of a fever spiking before it breaks, a wound being cleaned before it is sutured, a dislocated shoulder being put back in place). In moments, this is true for therapy. During an EMDR session the presence of feelings is unavoidable. In moments they might be very intense, surprise you or involve significant emotional releases. However, the most significant factor to consider is: “how long do I have to feel bad/pain before I begin to feel better”. With the use of EMDR the shift away from the negative and painful feelings happens with much greater speed than if you were just talking about the experience. Why? Because traumatic memories are stored differently than regular memories: they are stores in the right part of the brain in fragmented form, separate from the brain’s language center. While talk therapy is very effective and helpful, EMDR provides a “boost” that is crucial for the effective processing of trauma. It is also the responsibility of the EMDR therapist to help you feel safe and contained during the session and to help you create distance if the processing is feeling too intense. Be mindful that the cost of keeping those feelings buried deep is that they become unhealthy and affect other areas of your life and well-being.
  • What happens if we stop processing in the middle of the session?
    Absolutely nothing. There is no issue with us stopping. We will simply do some grounding and/or resourcing and go from there.
  • What forms of payment are accepted? What are your fees?
    Therapy sessions can by paid for by cash or through electronic payment options such as Stripe, Zelle or wire transfers. All sessions are paid in full at the start of each session. My current fee for a 60 minute session is 120€. 90 minute sessions are 180€.
  • What if I can't make it to a session?
    My cancellation and rescheduling policy requires at least 24 hours notice in writing or by phone. Any notice that is less than 24 hours will be charged the full amount of the missed session, unless we both agree that you were unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control. However, if we are able to reschedule our appointment for that same week, the cancellation fee will be waived. Time is one thing you can never make more of, so I charge the missed appointment fee to help you value both my time and your own. Having said that, my policy is not rigid as I understand that life happens - as with anything, transparency is important and having open and honest conversations about cancellations - especially if frequent - and about the policy are important!
  • Do you accept insurance?
    I do not accept insurance. However, there is a chance your mutuelle or work insurance might reimburse you for the sessions. I am happy to provide you with invoices that you can submit to your carrier for reimbursement.
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