A View from both sides of the couch

Currently, in my practice, I am able to offer EMDR in both weekly EMDR sessions and EMDR Intensives.

About ten years ago, I got trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and while I don’t use it with all of my clients, it has given me a trauma-informed lens that has changed my work with all of my clients. It has also been an amazing tool with clients who take the EMDR plunge to heal trauma.

 

Trauma changes the way our brains see the world.

I know this about my clients.

And me too.

Having used EMDR in my practice for a decade, I began offering EMDR Intensives last year and was amazed with the kind of progress I saw in my clients over the course of an intense and emotionally transformative week. To process so much trauma in the span of three sessions (each 3 hours long) was incredible. The radical shifts and connections my clients made inspired me. I have never seen so much growth and transformation in such a short period of time.

EMDR is incredibly powerful at helping people heal their trauma and create meaningful change in their lives and relationships.

But I had a secret.

In all of my years practicing EMDR, I had never been on their side of the couch. And this is not because I do not have a history of trauma. I do. Like most people, I have some “big T traumas” (the kind of trauma everyone would recognize as trauma) and “small t traumas” too (the smaller developmental traumas ). I knew I wanted to do EMDR “one day” but one day always got pushed further away.

Until February 2022.

If I am being honest, I was nervous to be on the other side of the couch doing an EMDR Intensive because I didn’t know if I was ready to be as brave as my clients were. I was scared of the dark places that I knew existed within my own mind and was afraid to visit.

Still, I signed up. I flew out of state and spent a long weekend with a total stranger divulging every dark place I could think of and reprocessing my own trauma in an EMDR Intensive format.

Here’s what it was like: I cried. A lot. But it was the kind of tears that feel healing and restorative. Somehow, I was able to visit all of these excruciating moments in my past and see them with a light and warmth that didn’t exist when they were happening. I even remembered details that I had long forgotten that helped the traumatic memories make sense. My perspective on current happenings in my life shifted too.

But the greatest gift is that when a client sits down on my sofa for an EMDR Intensive, I really do have some idea of what it is they are experiencing in a way that I never truly appreciated before. I can confidently offer a journey through EMDR knowing what its like when your brain makes the connections that it needs to make in order to heal and move on from trauma.

There is a myth about EMDR Intensives: our brains can’t process that much trauma in a short span of time because we need time to recover. That has not been my experience on either side of the couch.

 

One of the advantages to EMDR Intensives is that we can get through so much more and more quickly than we can in weekly EMDR sessions.

There’s no updating on current events or closing at the end of session so we are able to get a lot of processing done. There is less interruption in the EMDR process in the EMDR Intensive format — the healing is not interrupted by week-long breaks. I felt an eagerness to keep moving and making the shifts I needed to make. I was grateful that I was able to move through so much over the span of just a few days.

Trauma changes our brain but we have the capacity to change the way our brains fire and function too.

 

The transformation that comes from healing trauma is an awakening that I am incredibly grateful to share with my clients.

While EMDR may sound new and exciting, it’s actually been around for decades and there is extensive research and evidence to support it’s efficacy that extends well beyond my anecdotal experience.

Check out EMDRIA for more information about EMDR.

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