What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a specialized form of therapy created to help people process and heal from traumatic memories.
Therapists must be specially certified and trained to work using EMDR, and so not many clinicians are able to offer it – which is why Key Insights Counseling is proud to bring this much-needed service to our community!
EMDR looks a bit different from typical psychotherapy, as your therapist will instruct you to focus on a moving object, such as a light or their hand, while you talk about the story of the trauma. This activity is known as “bilateral stimulation,” which happens on a neurophysiological level as you activate the nerves and muscles in your visual system to unlock traumatic material from the brain so that it can be properly dealt with:
This process of accessing thoughts and feelings, engaging in eye movement desensitization, and reprocessing creates opportunities for your brain to rewire, reconsolidate, and restore itself in a way that helps you create distance from the trauma.
EMDR is particularly useful for processing traumatic life events, such as:
- Being the victim of a violent or criminal act
- Car accidents
- Death of a loved one
- Surviving an animal attack
- Childhood abuse or neglect
- Serious medical issues
- Military combat
- Surviving torture
- Witnessing or experiencing domestic abuse
Key Insights Counseling offers individual therapy for trauma for people from all over the area – Rohnert Park, Cotati, Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Penngrove, Petaluma, and beyond. If you would like to sign up for our world class EMDR services or learn more about how Key Insights can help, contact us today. To learn more about what EMDR looks like at our clinic, read on!
What does EMDR look like at Key Insights Counseling?
EMDR is an evidence-based specialty service that follows specific steps in order to ensure successful healing from trauma. Although we always try to tailor our approach to your goals, the structure of EMDR typically goes as follows:
STEP ONE: Gathering History
In this stage, we will explore your life history together. You’ll get to know me, my style and I’ll get to know you. We will also set up initial treatment goals. We will identify “targets” – memories that most strongly contribute to the trauma – and a sequence in which the targets may be processed.
STEP TWO: Preparation
This step is all about equipping you well to handle and process traumatic memories. You will learn effective grounding skills, stress reduction techniques, and other state change skills. I will help you identify a “safe-place,” create “containers” and build your inner resources. You will learn about bilateral stimulation and how to activate the brain’s Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) system. You will learn all about using these resources to help you access more positive experiences, thoughts, and images before moving on through the remaining EMDR phases.
STEP THREE: Choosing Targets
In this phase, we start to determine where to go next and what targets we will be processing in the upcoming sessions. We will look at what you want to target when you move into the processing phase and ensure that you feel prepared to begin working through those memories.
STEP FOUR: Desensitization
This is the most active phase of EMDR. It’s also the most difficult and rewarding at the same time, because this is where bilateral stimulation really comes into play. All of your senses become involved as you process the disturbance you are targeting. This is where AIP comes into play as your brain recycles the material for your nervous system to release it as it did not get to at the time. In between sets of bilateral stimulation, your therapist may also throw some things in for you to think about called cognitive interweaves. As this becomes easier, we are ready to move on to step five.
STEP FIVE: Installation
Next, we will install a positive cognition that you chose with the bilateral stimulation. We will also check to see how true that positive cognition feels to you. We continue with bilateral stimulation to see if anything is getting in the way, and as you progress and feel more prepared, we move onto step six.
STEP SIX: Body Scan
Just as the name suggests, you will be asked to mentally scan your body to search for any sensations or tensions that signal that something is still “stuck” or painful regarding the target. If there are any lingering sensations, we might go back to an earlier step to rinse and repeat.
STEP SEVEN: Closure
This is where we will close down the material and do a final check to make sure you are ready to go back to your life after the session. You will learn to use various methods, such as imagery, to contain the material that is still not processed. This may include returning to your safe place or creating a container to hold anything that may become to distressing in between sessions.
STEP EIGHT: Reevaluation
I’ll check in with you the next session to see how you have felt during the week, if any new material has come up, and how you are feeling about the memories we processed. This helps to determine if your disturbance is feels more neutral and if your positive cognition still rings true. If the previous EMDR session was incomplete, the cycle begins again at phase four.
Here at Key Insights Counseling, we know that you are so much more than what happened to you. We believe that, with the right support, you can find true healing and overcome your trauma. Contact us today to sign up for your first session or learn more about what we do.
What does therapy look like at Key Insights Counseling?
We are here for you!
Key Insights Counseling is particularly well-equipped to help people overcome posttraumatic stress. In addition to EMDR, our clinicians also offer outstanding therapy services that utilize techniques from Expressive Arts, Somatic, Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Solution-Focused Therapy to help meet you wherever you are at in your healing journey.
Our services are designed to incorporate the latest research while offering strategic, compassionate and solution-focused treatment.
The initial session is called the “intake interview,” which involves a thorough review of your life story and current situation. This allows us to accurately pinpoint the problem and collaborate on a plan moving forward. From there, we meet for regular individual therapy sessions – which is where the real work begins.
As you begin counseling for trauma, you can learn to:
- Become “unstuck” and find freedom from trauma
- Relax and sleep well
- Feel confident and have self-control
- Manage and reduce flashbacks
- Reduce frequency of nightmares
- Think positively and understand your emotions
- Let go of old pain and move forward with wellness
Our practice is called “Key Insights” for a reason.
We believe in those incredible “aha” moments, those breakthrough realizations where children, teens, adults, and families discover the key to unlocking success. Our goal is, no matter what your struggle might be, to help you find those key insights and move forward with a life worth living. We help clients learn to have difficult conversations by having difficult conversations with them. We have high expectations for the people we work with, and we provide ample support in our efforts to drive them closer to their goals.
Do not wait and hope for things to get better on their own – contact us today to begin your journey towards wellness.
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Interested in hearing more about our practice? Want to learn more about how we can help? We would love to hear from you. Click on Contact in the menu above!
Our office is located in Rohnert Park at 2 Padre Pkwy, Suite 302A. We are easy to get to and we offer lots of parking. We are also conveniently located near public transportation, shopping, and easy freeway access. Our office atmosphere is relaxed, comfy, and elegant with the goal of creating a space where true healing can happen.