EMDR Therapy

I’ve trained in many modalities, but EMDR has changed my practice because it works, and it changes lives

EMDR Therapy is the one treatment method that is consistently powerful and transformative for clients. The theoretical model underlying EMDR is called the Adaptive Information Processing Model, which asserts that there are events in our lives that may be overwhelming, terrifying, traumatic or otherwise distressful that get “stuck” in our brain. These “stuck” experiences may lead to distressing physical and psychological symptoms. EMDR therapy addresses the root-cause of distress and suffering and releases trauma held in the body, thus healing the nervous system. As Such, clients have a better chance of leading a symptom-free life without needing to return to talk therapy. EMDR treatment is based on the neuroscience of the brain and uses the technique of bilateral stimulation to process through memory networks and release the emotional charge associated with distressing thoughts, memories and blocks. EMDR can be helpful for anxiety, phobias, depression, habits, negative self-concepts, performance problems, addictions, repeating patterns and more.

EMDR has been proven to be extremely effective in treating even the most problematic issues in fewer sessions than talk therapy (and less homework than CBT), although a form of “exposure” therapy is an important aspect of EMDR. EMDR therapy identifies and addresses experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural coping capacity and resilience, which has led to traumatic symptoms and harmful coping mechanisms, thus helping clients reprocess traumatic information leading to a more integrated and peaceful resolution. Negative, painful thoughts and beliefs are replaced with more adaptive and realistic “here and now” perceptions and self-concepts.

EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and is a technique used as a primary therapy or as an adjunct form of treatment. As a Level II EMDR specialist, I am able to offer this effective intervention to alleviate symptoms related to trauma as well as other distressing symptoms such as:

  • Phobias, anxieties, fears, panic disorder, obsessions

  • Depression, dysphoria, sadness

  • Eating disorders, body image concerns

  • Medical trauma, medical diagnosis, chronic pain

  • Insomnia

  • Sexual, physical and emotional abuse

  • Relationship issues, family of origin difficulties

  • Identity and sexual problems

  • Self-defeating patterns, self sabotage, poor self-esteem

  • Accidents, natural disasters, survivor guilt

  • Performance problems, public speaking, creative blocks

  • Anger, rage, feeling unsafe

  • Triggers for addictions

  • Negative thoughts, patterns

  • Attachment, interpersonal and relationship challenges, barriers to intimacy

This treatment modality is based on the neuroscience of the brain and uses bilateral stimulation to process through the memory networks and release the emotional charge associated with the experiences that create obstacles to emotional health and healthy relationships. Compared to traditional forms of cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR has proven to be extremely effective in treating even the most problematic issues in a relatively short amount of time.  Clients utilizing EMDR appear to have less chance of their problems returning in the future after treatment is complete, because healing is believed to take place at the level of the nervous system. EMDR is effective for changing negative thought patterns, emotional reactions, entrenched habits and even physical discomfort that people can’t “think" their way out of using traditional "talk therapy." EMDR has given clinicians and their clients the ability to essentially reverse all those negative patterns and responses that have developed in the brain, body, and nervous system. I incorporate EMDR into psychotherapy sessions as needed and desired by my clients.

MORE ABOUT EMDR...

Negative experiences and emotions often become trapped in the brain and poorly integrated between the left and right hemispheres causing distressing somatic and emotional symptoms. The technique of EMDR is believed to stimulate an intrinsic capacity of the human brain to resolve emotional disturbance and gain adaptive and more helpful insights, not unlike what occurs spontaneously during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation, right/left eye movement, or tactile stimulation, which activates alternate sides of the brain. This process is thought to release emotional experiences that are "trapped" in the nervous system. This assists the neurophysiological system, the basis of the mind/body connection, to free blockages and more fully integrate experiences.  As troubling images and feelings are processed by the brain via the bilateral stimulation of EMDR, resolution of the issues and a more peaceful state is restored at the level of the nervous system.

EMDR is the most researched of the power therapies (Somatic Experiencing or SE, Advanced Integrative Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique EFT, Thought Field Therapy TFT, Brainspotting BSP, Energy Testing and others), and has the validation of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the Department of Defense and the Veteran’s Administration, as it relates to treatments for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.  In addition to trauma resolution, EMDR is now successfully used as a performance enhancement tool and to assist individuals in a variety of high stress situations such as:

  • Participating in competitive sports and other high-stress situations

  • Public speaking and presentations

  • Undergoing job interviews

  • Taking standardized tests such as SAT's, professional examinations, test anxiety

  • Performing in artistic and creative performances, writer and artistic blocks

People who have participated in performance enhancement therapy such as competitive athletes and performers often report that they are more self-confident and that unconscious blocks to performance are greatly reduced.

For more information about EMDR you can visit the EMDR Institute.

WHAT FOLLOWS IS A MORE COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF PROBLEMS AND CONCERNS THAT ARE HELPED BY EMDR…

The studies to date show a high degree of effectiveness with the following conditions:

  • PTSD

  • Childhood trauma or traumatic memories

  • Depression

  • Anxiety or panic attacks

  • Anger and rage problems

  • Intense anxiety, phobias and fears (fear of flying, bridges, tunnels)

  • Social anxiety

  • Fear of being alone or abandoned

  • Feeling unlovable

  • Unrealistic guilt and shame

  • Addictions and smoking cessation

  • Compulsions and habit control

  • OCD

  • Chemically dependent clients

  • Depression

  • Dissociation, DID

  • Managing anger and rage problems

  • Insomnia and sleep disorders, relaxation difficulties

  • Medical/surgical/diagnosis trauma

  • Attachment concerns

  • Eating disorders (Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder) and body image issues

  • Performance and test anxiety

  • Sexual abuse and/or physical abuse

  • Surviving an assault, robbery or rape

  • Witnessing violence, victim of a crime

  • Loss or injury of a loved one, injury to self

  • Childhood trauma, neglect, abuse or traumatic memories

  • Surviving an accident

  • Low self-esteem

  • Motivation and procrastination

  • 911 victims, police officers, firemen, rescue workers with violent memories

  • Difficulties with trust

  • Relationship problems and interpersonal difficulties (work and professional)

  • Life transitions such as divorce recovery, childbirth and aging

WHAT'S BEING SAID ABOUT EMDR:

  • "EMDR therapy was determined to be an effective treatment of trauma." American Psychiatric Association (2004). Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Acute Stress Disorder and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Acute Stress Disorder and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines.

  • "EMDR therapy was placed in the "A" category as “strongly recommended” for the treatment of trauma." Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense (2004). VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Post-Traumatic Stress. Washington, DC

  • EMDR is a therapy is listed in the new Department of Veterans Affairs & Department of Defense Practice Guidelines "A" category as "highly recommended" for the treatment of trauma.

  • It has received a high level of recommendation by the American Psychiatric Association and by the mental health departments of Israel, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Sweden and more. For a full listing visit http://www.EMDRHAP.org/researchandresources.htm to learn more.

  • EMDR is also listed as an effective form of therapy, backed by research, on a new National Institute of Mental Health sponsored website: Check under "Adult MH Therapist for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder."

Addiction Protocols

FEELING STATE ADDICTION PROTOCOL (FSAP)—EMDR THERAPY FOR ADDICTIONS & COMPULSIONS

For years the addiction field has held that addictions were caused by genetics. We now know that, while the gene may be passed from parent to child, the expression of a gene can be influenced by negative and positive environmental factors. The Feeling State Addiction Protocol or FSAP developed by Dr Robert Miller works from the theory that addictions and compulsions develop in the moment an individual experiences an intensely desired positive feeling while engaging in a specific behavior. The intense positive feelings that are experienced in that moment are powerful, and when combined with the individual's unique history and emotional vulnerability, the positive "feeling state" (e.g. "I'm okay," "I am loved," or "I'm a winner") becomes neurologically wired with the problem behavior. As a result, the individual will compulsively seek to recreate the gratifying "feeling state" by engaging in the behavior (e.g. gambling, sex addiction, shopping, shop-lifting, exhibitionism, voyeurism, substance use, overeating or restricting), while compromising healthy psychological development.

When successful, the Feeling State Addiction Protocol breaks this neurological welding, similar to the way standard EMDR frees the “stuck” traumatic memory at the level of the nervous system. As the positive feeling state and the behavior becomes "de-linked," individuals find that their urges to engage in the addictive and compulsive behaviors diminish and may even disappear. As a result, the individual's vulnerability and original trauma creates discomfort and can no longer be numbed with the familiar addictive and compulsive behaviors. A return to the standard EMDR Protocol can then be used to resolve the painful experiences that led to the "need" that are at the root cause of many addictions.

Some clients may benefit from this type of innovative, intensive treatment, but many will need a more comprehensive, supportive and stabilizing environment for medical and psychiatric reasons. This will afford the individual a greater range of modalities and supportive measures to ensure a lasting and successful recovery. Optimal recovery can be achieved when a rehab facility acknowledges how co-occurring disorders may contribute to the progression of addictions and compulsions and not just label the individual "an addict," focusing only on stopping the behavior. Trauma and long-standing psychiatric issues, which may not have been properly identified or treated successfully in the past, are referred to as co-occurring disorders.

EXAMPLES OF CO-OCCURRING PSYCHIATRIC CONDITIONS ARE:

  • Depression

  • Panic and anxiety disorders

  • Attention deficit disorder ADD

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Borderline personality disorder BPD

  • Eating disorders

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD

  • Obsessive compulsive disorder OCD

  • Sleep disorders

  • Substance abuse or dependence

EMDR therapy + Somatic Experiencing Techniques

ALL SUCCESSFUL HEALING METHODS HELP PEOPLE ESTABLISH A CONNECTION TO THEIR BODY. THOSE METHODS THAT DO NOT HELP PEOPLE CONNECT TO THEIR BODY HAVE LIMITED, IF ANY, SUCCESS.
— Peter Levine, Ph.D

Somatic Experiencing is a form of therapy aimed at relieving and resolving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental and physical trauma-related health problems by focusing on the client’s perceived body sensations or somatic experiences. It was introduced in Dr. Peter Levine's 1997 book "Waking the Tiger." In it, he discusses at length, his observations of animals in the wild, and how they deal with and recover from life-threatening situations. He concludes that their behavior gives us "an insight into the biological healing process" (p.98), and that "the key to healing traumatic symptoms in humans lies in our being able to mirror the fluid adaption of wild animals" (p.17-18) as they avoid traumatization in reacting to life-threatening situations. The theory postulates that the symptoms of trauma are the effect of a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). It further postulates that the ANS has an inherent capacity to self-regulate that is undermined by trauma, and that the inherent capacity to self-regulate can be restored by the procedures of Somatic Experiencing or SE.

The procedure, which is normally done in a face-to-face session similar to psychotherapy, involves a client tracking his or her own "felt-sense" experience. SE is considered by practitioners to be effective for "shock" trauma in the short term (typically one to six sessions). It is also considered effective for developmental trauma as an adjunct to or instead of more conventional psychotherapy that may span years. Somatic Experiencing is very effective when combined with EMDR sessions and traditional talk therapy or psychotherapy.

Somatic Experiencing attempts to promote awareness and release of physical tension that proponents believe is stored and remains in the body in the aftermath of trauma. This occurs when the survival responses (which can take the form of orienting, fight, flight or freeze) of the ANS are aroused, but are not fully discharged after the traumatic situation has passed. The process involves a guided exploration of the nature and extent of the physical dysregulation that is harbored in the body as a result of trauma. Another notion is that the client's experience should be "pendulated." Pendulation refers to the movement between regulation and dysregulation. The client is helped to move to a state where he or she is believed to be somewhat dysregulated (i.e. aroused, distressed or frozen) and then helped to return to a state of regulation (loosely defined as not aroused or frozen). "Resources" are defined as anything that helps the client's autonomic nervous system return to a regulated state. In the face of arousal, "discharge" is facilitated to allow the client's body to return to a regulated state. Through this process the client's inherent capacity to self-regulate is believed to be restored.

Somatic Experiencing is considered by practitioners to be useful for two broad categories of trauma: shock trauma and developmental trauma. Shock trauma is loosely defined as a single-episode traumatic event such as an accident, natural disaster, battlefield incident, etc. Developmental trauma refers to various kinds of psychological damage that occur during child development, such as: chronic abuse, insufficient attention and neglect from primary caregivers and insufficient nurturing relationship with the parent.

EMDR Therapy + Brainspotting

“BRAINSPOTTING IS BASED ON THE PROFOUND ATTUNEMENT OF THE THERAPIST WITH THE PATIENT, FINDING A SOMATIC CUE AND EXTINGUISHING IT BY DOWN-REGULATING THE AMYGDALA. IT ISN’T JUST PNS (PARASYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM) ACTIVATION THAT IS FACILITATED, IT IS HOMEOSTASIS.”
— — ROBERT SCAER, MD, "THE TRAUMA SPECTRUM"

Brainspotting was discovered by David Grand, Ph.D. in 2003. Since then, Brainspotting has developed into an in-depth therapeutic process that can be integrated with psychotherapy sessions in either individual or couples therapy. Dr. Grand believes that “Brainspotting taps in to the body’s natural self-scanning and self-healing abilities”.

Brainspotting therapy is a new and powerful method of healing developed from EMDR. Brainspotting as a technique is used in psychotherapy and trauma resolution therapy to help release depression, fear, anxiety, grief, loss, phobias and addictions. It is possible to release the trauma or traumatic event from either a distressed or calm place in the body. The power of BSP is that one does not necessarily have to relive the traumatic event at the same level of intensity as the original trauma. BSP is especially helpful for pre-verbal traumas, that is, traumas that occurred before the child had language to organize the experience. Because of this, it is possible to resolve the trauma in a safe and contained manner. Trauma and stress can often overwhelm the nervous system. With the support of an experienced EMDR and Brainspotting therapist, BSP helps the client discharge the trauma and calm the nervous system. BSP helps clients identify, process, and release core neurophysiological sources of emotional or physical pain, trauma, dissociation and a variety of other challenging psychiatric and somatic symptoms.

Brainspotting (BSP) functions as a neurobiological tool to support the therapeutic relationship in which the therapist’s mature, nurturing presence and ability to engage the client creates a healing space. It is theorized that Brainspotting, like EMDR, triggers the body’s innate self-scanning capacity to process and release focused areas (systems) which are in a maladaptive form (frozen primitive survival modes). This may also explain the ability of Brainspotting to often reduce and eliminate body pain and tension associated with chronic physical conditions.

Generally, the brainspot is located by finding an eye position where the emotion is most strongly felt. A brainspot can also be located from the calmest place in the body. Pinpointing the brainspot is done through noticing an increase in reflexive eye or body movements, such as blinking, swallowing, yawning, head or body twitches. Neurologists state that the location of the brainspot “is related to the area or region of the patient’s experience or perception of the traumatic event and represents procedural memory for that somatic experience.”

Brainspotting can be accompanied by the use of biolateral sounds. Biolateral sounds can be music, tones or even nature sounds that move from ear to ear alternately in order to activate each hemisphere of the brain. Dr. Grand developed a series of biolateral CDs that can be used during a Brainspotting session. Initially developed for use with EMDR, these sounds help to calm the sympathetic nervous system (which is the fight or flight response), and engage the calmer parasympathetic nervous system.

Brainspotting is unique from other therapeutic techniques in that it is being used not only in trauma and healing work, but also in the areas of performance enhancement and sports psychology. Therapists are utilizing BSP with professional athletes, actors, writers, musicians, as well as with clients who experience stress during public speaking. Meditation practices can also be enhanced through the use of Brainspotting.

David Grand, PhD, the developer of Brainspotting, is an internationally recognized trauma expert. He has devoted his life to advancing, expanding, and communicating about state-of-the-art tools available for healing trauma and enhancing performance. He is the author of Emotional Healing at Warp speed: The Power of EMDR, and trains health care professionals around the US, Europe, South America and the Middle East

The History of EMDR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy developed by psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro.  She made the chance observation that eye movements can reduce the intensity of the disturbing thoughts when she noticed her own stress reactions diminished when her eyes swept back and forth as she walked through a park one day. EMDR involves recalling a stressful past event and “reprogramming” the memory in the light of a positive, self-chosen belief, while using rapid eye movements to facilitate the process. Theories as to why EMDR works are still evolving, but many people have found EMDR to be extremely beneficial.

8 PHASES OF TREATMENT

The amount of time the complete treatment will take depends upon the history of the client. Complete treatment of the targets involves a three pronged protocol (1-past memories, 2-present disturbance, 3-future actions), and are needed to alleviate the symptoms and address the complete clinical picture. The goal of EMDR therapy is to process completely the experiences that are causing problems, and to include new ones that are needed for full health. "Processing" does not mean talking about it. "Processing" means setting up a learning state that will allow experiences that are causing problems to be "digested" and stored appropriately in your brain. That means that what is useful to you from an experience will be learned, and stored with appropriate emotions in your brain, and be able to guide you in positive ways in the future. The inappropriate emotions, beliefs, and body sensations will be discarded. Negative emotions, feelings and behaviors are generally caused by unresolved earlier experiences that are pushing you in the wrong directions. The goal of EMDR therapy is to leave you with the emotions, understanding, and perspectives that will lead to healthy and useful behaviors and interactions.

Phase 1: History and Treatment Planning

Generally takes 1-2 sessions at the beginning of therapy, and can continue throughout the therapy, especially if new problems are revealed. In the first phase of EMDR treatment, the therapist takes a thorough history of the client and develops a treatment plan. This phase will include a discussion of the specific problem that has brought him into therapy, his behaviors stemming from that problem, and his symptoms. With this information, the therapist will develop a treatment plan that defines the specific targets on which to use EMDR. These targets include the event(s) from the past that created the problem, the present situations that cause distress, and the key skills or behaviors the client needs to learn for his future well-being. One of the unusual features of EMDR is that the person seeking treatment does not have to discuss any of his disturbing memories in detail.

Phase 2: Preparation

For most clients this will take only 1-3 sessions. For others, with a very traumatic background, or with certain diagnoses, a longer time may be necessary to create a sense of safety. Basically, your clinician will teach you some specific techniques so you can rapidly deal with any emotional disturbance that may arise. If you can do that, you are generally able to proceed to the next phase. One of the primary goals of the preparation phase is to establish a relationship of trust between the client and the therapist.  During the Preparation Phase, the clinician will explain the theory of EMDR, how it is done, and what the person can expect during and after treatment. Finally, the clinician will teach the client a variety of relaxation techniques for calming himself/herself in the face of any emotional disturbance that may arise during or after a session. Learning these tools is important for everyone and especially and EMDR client. One goal of EMDR therapy is to make sure that the client learns self care, self soothing techniques and relaxation.

Phase 3: Assessment

Used to access each target in a controlled and standardized way so it can be effectively processed. Processing does not mean talking about it.  The therapist identifies the aspects of the target to be processed. The first step is for the person to select a specific picture or scene from the target event (which was identified during Phase One) that best represents the memory. Then the client chooses a statement that expresses a negative self-belief associated with the event. Even if he intellectually knows that the statement is false. These negative beliefs are actually verbalizations of the disturbing emotions that still exist. Common negative cognitions are "I am helpless," " I am worthless," " I am unlovable," " I am dirty," " I am bad," etc. The client then picks a positive self-statement that he would rather believe. This statement should incorporate an internal sense of control such as "I am worthwhile/ lovable/ a good person/ in control" or "I can succeed." "I am in danger" can be considered a negative cognition, because the fear is inappropriate - it is locked in the nervous system, but the danger is actually past. The client will then be asked to rate the cognitions as well as identify any body sensations associated with these cognitions.

Reprocessing

For a single trauma reprocessing is generally accomplished within 3 sessions. If it takes longer, you should see some improvement within that amount of time.  Phases One through Three lay the groundwork for the comprehensive treatment and reprocessing of the specific targeted events. Although the eye movements (or taps, or tones) are used during the following three phases, they are only one component of a complex therapy. The use of the step-by-step eight-phase approach allows the experienced, trained EMDR clinician to maximize the treatment effects for the client in a logical and standardized fashion. It also allows both the client and the clinician to monitor the progress during every treatment session.

Phase 4: Desensitization

This phase focuses on the client's disturbing emotions and sensations as they are measured by the SUDs rating. This phase deals with all of the person's responses (including other memories, insights and associations that may arise) as the targeted event changes and its disturbing elements are resolved. This phase gives the opportunity to identify and resolve similar events that may have occurred and are associated with the target. During desensitization, the therapist leads the person in sets of eye movement (or other forms of stimulation) with appropriate shifts and changes of focus until his SUD-scale levels are reduced to zero (or 1 or 2 if this is more appropriate). Starting with the main target, the different associations to the memory are followed. For instance, a person may start with a horrific event and soon have other associations to it. The clinician will guide the client to a complete resolution of the target. Examples of sessions and a three-session transcript of a complete treatment can be found in F. Shapiro & M.S. Forrest (2004) EMDR. New York: Basic Books.

Phase 5: Installation

The goal is to concentrate on and increase the strength of the positive belief that the person has identified to replace his original negative belief. For example, the client might begin with a mental image of being beaten up by his father and a negative belief of "I am powerless." During the Desensitization Phase he will have reprocessed the terror of that childhood event and fully realized that as an adult he now has strength and choices he didn't have when he was young. During this fifth phase of treatment, his positive cognition, "I am now in control," will be strengthened and installed. How deeply the person believes his positive cognition is then measured using the Validity of Cognition (VOC) scale. The goal is for the person to accept the full truth of his positive self-statement at a level of 7 (completely true). Fortunately, just as EMDR cannot make anyone shed appropriate negative feelings, it cannot make the person believe anything positive that is not appropriate either. So if the person is aware that he actually needs to learn some new skill, such as self-defense training, in order to be truly in control of the situation, the validity of his positive belief will rise only to the corresponding level, such as a 5 or 6 on the VOC scale.

Phase 6: Body scan

After the positive cognition has been strengthened and installed, the therapist will ask the person to bring the original target event to mind and see if he notices any residual tension in his body. If so, these physical sensations are then targeted for reprocessing. Evaluations of thousands of EMDR sessions indicate that there is a physical response to unresolved thoughts. This finding has been supported by independent studies of memory indicating that when a person is negatively affected by trauma, information about the traumatic event is stored in motoric (or body systems) memory, rather than narrative memory, and retains the negative emotions and physical sensations of the original event. When that information is processed, however, it can then move to narrative (or verbalizable) memory and the body sensations and negative feelings associated with it disappear. Therefore, an EMDR session is not considered successful until the client can bring up the original target without feeling any body tension. Positive self-beliefs are important, but they have to be believed on more than just an intellectual level.

Phase 7: Closure

Ends every treatment session The Closure ensures that the person leaves at the end of each session feeling better than at the beginning. If the processing of the traumatic target event is not complete in a single session, the therapist will assist the person in using a variety of self-calming techniques in order to regain a sense of equilibrium. Throughout the EMDR session, the client has been in control (for instance, he is instructed that it is okay to raise his hand in the "stop" gesture at anytime) and it is important that the client continue to feel in control outside the therapist's office. He is also briefed on what to expect between sessions (some processing may continue, some new material may arise), how to use a journal to record these experiences, and which techniques he might use on his own to help him feel more calm.

Phase 8: Reevaluation

Opens every new session At the beginning of subsequent sessions, the therapist checks to make sure that the positive results (low SUDs, high VOC, no body tension) have been maintained, identifies any new areas that need treatment, and continues reprocessing the additional targets. The Reevaluation Phase guides the clinician through the treatment plans that are needed in order to deal with the client? s problems. As with any form of good therapy, the Reevaluation Phase is vital in order to determine the success of the treatment over time. Although clients may feel relief almost immediately with EMDR, it is as important to complete the eight phases of treatment.

Past, Present and Future

Although EMDR may produce results more rapidly than previous forms of therapy, speed is not the issue and it is important to remember that every client has different needs. For instance, one client may take weeks to establish sufficient feelings of trust (Phase Two), while another may proceed quickly through the first six phases of treatment only to reveal, then, something even more important that needs treatment. Also, treatment is not complete until EMDR therapy has focused on the past memories that are contributing to the problem, the present situations that are disturbing, and what skills the client may need for the future.

Above excerpt from: F. Shapiro & M.S. Forrest (2004) EMDR: The Breakthrough Therapy for Anxiety, Stress and Trauma. New York: BasicBooks.

Books about EMDR Therapy amazon.com

Calm and Confident:  Overcome Stress and Anxiety With EMDR -Mark Grant. Two guided visualizations, soothing music, and EMDR combine to help listeners relax and feel more confident about dealing with stress and anxiety-producing situations. A instruction booklet included.

EMDR: The Breakthrough Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma -Francine Shapiro, & Margot Silk-Forrest. EMDR explained and includes many case histories.

EMDR: Transforming Trauma - Laurel Parnell. Basic EMDR information for the general public as well as psychotherapists. Dr.Parnell writes from a transpersonal perspective about her experiences with EMDR.

Small Wonders: Healing Childhood Trauma with EMDR - Joan Lovett, M.D. Collection of stories about children, adolescents and adults who have puzzling symptoms and anxiety. It offers therapists who treat children and do inner child work, a unique look at the EMDR process and valuable clinical histories. EMDR information is explained in a easily understandable way for clients. She is adept at integrating EMDR into multidimensional therapeutic contexts.

Helpful Books for EMDR Clinicians:

Finding the Energy to Heal: How EMDR, Hypnosis, TFT, Imagery, and Body-Focused Therapy Can Help Resolve Health Problems - Maggie Phillips. An excellent book for EMDR practitioners. The author explains concepts like positive image installation, positive target image, conflict free image, resource interweave, ego state therapy during EMDR without hypnosis, re-nurturing interweaves, developmental learning interweaves, concepts and procedures related to the safe place and safe place image, temporal resource interweaves, and many concepts and resources that can be useful to the EMDR clinician.

EMDR in the Treatment of Adults Abused as Children - Laurel Parnell, Ph.D

A Therapist's Guide to EMDR:  Tools and Techniques for Successful Treatment.  Laurel Parnell, PhD.

EMDR and Psychotherapy Integration: Theoretical and Clinical Suggestions With Focus on Traumatic Stress - Lipke, H.  Lipke integrates EMDR practice with behavioral, dynamic, and humanistic psychotherapy.

EMDR Solutions:  Pathways to Healing.  Robin Shapiro

EMDr Solutions II:  For Depression, Eating Disorders, Performance, and More.  Robin Shapiro

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: Basic Principles, Protocols, and Procedures - Francine Shapiro. Theoretical conceptualization of EMDR is outlined by Dr. Shapiro. Most of the information presented at the Level I and II EMDR trainings.

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing EMDR) in Child and Adolescent Therapy - Ricky A. Greenwald, PsyD.

Extending EMDR: A Casebook of Innovative Applications - Philip Mansfield.

Healing the Divided Self: Clinical and Ericksonian Hypnotherapy for Post-Traumatic and Dissociative Conditions - Maggie Phillips & Claire Frederick. This book doesn't discuss EMDR, specifically but it does discusses Ego State Therapy as well as dissociation, hypnosis, and other relevant topics to EMDR Therapists.

Pain Control With EMDR - Mark Grant. Designed to minimize all kinds of pain, including chronic, postoperative, and migraine, the cassette and booklet contain two visualizations of pain-relieving imagery.(audio cassette)

Trauma in the Lives of Children: Crisis and Stress Management Techniques for Teachers,

 Counselors, and Student Service Professionals - Kendall Johnson. This book is for the professionals who treat children and adolescents. The second edition includes information about the advances in the understanding of memory and Post-traumatic stress in children. Includes a chapter on EMDR therapy.

Transforming Trauma: EMDR: The Revolutionary New Therapy for Freeing the Mind, Clearing the Body, and Opening the Heart - Laurel Parnell, Ph.D. Dr. Parnell takes the reader into her own experience as a EMDR therapist and her clients abuse histories sharing how traumatic events frozen in time are released by using EMDR method.

Through the Eyes of a Child: EMDR with Children - Robert H. Tinker, Sandy A. Wilson, Robbie Dutton, Sandra D. Wilson.  This books shows how EMDR can be successfully applied to helping children over come childhood trauma. The EMDR protocol is modified so it can be applied to children as young as two years old. There are many case examples including, phobias, auto accidents, breavement, ADHD, anxiety, depression and reactive attachment disorders and eating disorders.

Neurobiology & Attachment Books

Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development - Allan N. Schore

The Developing Mind: Toward a Neurobiology of Interpersonal Experience - Daniel Siegel Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder - Marsha M. Linehan. DBT solutions and support for psychotherapists working with clients diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder


About Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW

Licensed Psychotherapist, Kimberly Seelbrede received EMDRIA-approved training, levels I + II and appropriate supervision hours, and is a practicing EMDR Therapist. She maintains a successful private practice working with Manhattan clients online and in-person, providing therapy, coaching and psychological consultations. In her role as a trauma-focused therapist, women’s emotional health + relationship expert and mind-body consultant, her strategies blend practical psychology, cutting-edge treatments and evidence-based therapies while honoring eastern mindfulness practices. Her practice is guided by her intuitive skills to create positive, sustainable change and transformation. With extensive, post-graduate training and an eclectic approach to therapy and healing, Kimberly provides psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, specialized eating disorders, compulsions and addictions approaches, brainspotting, mindfulness, DBT, CBT, solution-focused therapy, focusing-oriented therapy, hypnosis, yoga therapy with the Urban Zen Foundation UZIT, and specialized couples therapy training utilizing Gottman and Emotionally Focused Therapy. Kimberly’s clinical expertise includes: anxiety, depression, relationships and couples therapy, sex therapy, women's hormone health and autoimmune disorder coaching, family therapy, addictions, recovery support, compulsions, trauma resolution, stress management and relaxation support, performance blocks, loss and grief, shame, crisis situations and life transitions. Kimberly conducts psychotherapy, coaching and psychological consultations in her office, or worldwide via phone, FaceTime, Skype or a HIPPA-compliant platform. Kimberly's interests include: lifestyle change and transitions, women’s emotional health and mentoring, motivation and change, mindfulness, meditation support, successful communication, professional burnout, self-care and managing chronic pain and illness.

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW supervises graduate students of mental health and allied health professionals in the areas of case consultation and the successful integration of alternative therapies into their private practices. She enjoys helping professionals build their private practices. Her background in the performing arts has enabled her to develop a special niche and work successfully with VIP’s, talented, creative, high-profile and celebrity clients. Kimberly Seelbrede has worked with some of the world’s most well-known personalities from athletes, international pop stars, TV personalities, entrepreneurs, thought-leaders, C-suite executives and Fortune 500 CEOs. She provides therapy exclusively online to busy New Yorkers, and coaching to professionals in other cities in the US and worldwide.

Therapy + Healing Philosophy

As an integrative psychotherapist working in-person or online via teletherapy, I'm delighted to offer a unique approach to emotional health and healing. My goal is to blend contemporary psychological practices, intuitive guidance and the wisdom of the ancient healing arts. The heart and soul of my approach is to help clients develop insight, self-awareness, self-acceptance, authenticity, self integration, respect for one's body, embodiment, healthy boundaries and self-care practices.

Clinical Expertise

 PSYCHOTHERAPY, COACHING + CONSULTATION CONCERNS

  • Depression and mood disorders

  • Anxiety, OCD and compulsive disorders

  • Eating disorders, emotional eating and body image issues

  • Feeing “not enough,” “undeserving” or “unworthy”

  • Women’s issues, coaching and mentoring

  • Sexual and relationship issues for individuals and couples, sex therapy

  • Celebrity, high-profile, gifted and talented individuals

  • Grief, loss and bereavement

  • Adolescents problems (behavioral, emotional, familial, academic challenges)

  • ADD/ADHD

  • Addictions / drug addiction / process addictions / substance abuse / behavioral disorders / alcoholism 

  • Adult survivors of abuse and alcoholism

  • Childhood, developmental trauma resolution of traumatic events, complex PTSD

  • Self-sabotage and self-defeating behaviors, self-harm issues

  • Self-esteem issues, negative self-concept

  • Performance blocks using EMDR therapy

  • Surviving and managing relationships with borderline or narcissistic individuals / partners

  • Men’s issues 

  • Environmental stressors and crisis therapy

  • Phase of life issues, life transitions

  • Work, creativity and career issues

  • Life purpose, existential and spiritual growth

Professional Services

  • Online therapy via telephone, Skype or a HIPPA compliant service

  • Individual Adult Psychotherapy

  • Marriage / couples / relationship problems

  • Psychological consultations and behavioral health concerns

  • Coaching, executives, optimal + peak performance

  • Weekend intensive workshops for couples

  • Coordination of services with school, medical practitioners, legal counsel, etc

  • Addiction evaluations and assessments, process addictions, substance abuse and alcohol misuse

  • Consultation and evaluation for addictions and eating disorders, potential in-patient residential treatment

  • Parent and new parent education and coaching

  • Clinical supervision for obtaining licensure or creating an integrative psychotherapy practice

  • Private practice building business and consulting

  • Presentations and workshops

  • Mindfulness, meditation and stress management coaching and instruction

  • Recovery support for individuals including their families

  • Self-care support and wellness coaching

  • Referrals to medical and allied professionals in New York City and beyond

An Eclectic Therapy Approach

  • Psychodynamic / psychoanalytic psychotherapy / interpersonal psychotherapy

  • Humanistic approaches

  • Attachment-based therapy

  • Couples counseling / Gottman / emotionally focused therapy

  • Mindfulness / meditation support

  • EMDR therapy

  • Focusing techniques

  • Hypnosis

  • Brainspotting for attachment and trauma resolution

  • Crisis counseling

  • Short-term and goal-oriented therapy

  • Cognitive therapy for depression

  • CBT

  • DBT Skills

Online Therapy For New York City, Manhattan, New York State + Metropolitan Area

I offer online therapy, coaching and psychological consultations to high-functioning clients using video therapy on the internet. Online therapy allows you the comfort, convenience and flexibility of receiving high-quality therapy with an experienced therapist from your home, office or hotel through encrypted, secure video conferencing. Many find online therapy to be just as effective as psychotherapy sessions conducted in-person. Online therapy delivers services to clients who may be unable to seek face-to-face mental health services due to health or physical limitations, location, travel, work schedule, parenting and other circumstances. The hassle of losing time because of commuting, travel and scheduling problems can be reduced with video or phone sessions. Online therapy is not appropriate for everyone especially for those struggling with psychotic symptoms, severe depression, bipolar disorder, certain addictions or a medical or mental health diagnosis that requires hospitalization.

Relationship Counseling, Couples Therapy + Sex Therapy in-person or via online Video Counseling

In my therapy practice with couples in New York City I’ve successfully helped couples heal and mend the wounds of emotional and physical infidelity. I enjoy working with partners who desire a healthier and more satisfying relationship and those who crave more passion, exploration, novelty, mystery, surprise and desire. I work with high-functioning couples who would like to enhance their relationship and reestablish intimacy and connection. I also work with individuals at various stages of relationships including: newly-formed relationships, couples seeking pre-marital counseling, new parents seeking support, those considering separation or divorce and the newly single and ready to date. I draw from attachment-based theory, helping couples understand their own attachment style as well as that of their partner. Clients can learn to communicate their needs and "hear" the needs of their partner, as well as develop a shared vision or goals, learn acceptance and compassion for self and the other, heal trust issues and infidelity and develop new relationship and communication skills. Clients are also guided to identify and de-escalate when they experience triggers, address sex and intimacy concerns and understand how the past and family of origin issues may be impacting the relationship in the present. I am a sex positive therapist which means that I am aware of and accepting of a range of consensual sexual expression and lifestyle practices. This may include various forms of kinks, fetishes, and polyamory without judgment.

Online Video/Phone Consultations, Referrals, Second Opinions, Psychological Consultations

I provide psychological consultation sessions that are time-limited and problem or goal-focused. Some individuals and families consult with a mental health professional for educational purposes, a clinical assessment or diagnosis, a second opinion, help with a specific personal or life challenge, support for a difficult transition or crisis and to obtain resources to other collateral support such as psychiatrists or treatment facilities and rehabs for addictions and eating disorders. Clinical consultations allow a client, parent or family member to explore concerns, problem-solve with a professional and make decisions or changes in their lives that move them forward when they feel unsupported or "stuck." I am delighted to share my trusted resources to complementary, alternative and conventional medical referrals in New York City and beyond. Consultations are not psychotherapy and can be done long distance using an online service such as Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Simple Practice or via telephone sessions. I provide professional supervision consultation for new therapists seeking licensing and those with existing practices who are interested in blending integrative therapies into their private practice or building a private practice.

Coaching and therapy For women’s Issues

In therapy sessions, women commonly express feeling overwhelmed and depleted, or a common theme of feeling “less than” or “not enough.” Women have harsh inner dialogues, and an internalized voice that is often pervasive and unforgiving. Women are invalidated throughout development with many messages stemming from society and culture with a focus on outward appearance. Social media has created an even more toxic environment for women. Women frequently feel shamed for having needs and suppress even the most basic of needs. Rarely do women have time to pursue creative passions and endeavors that replenish them. Women are deserving of healthy and fulfilling relationships, including the primary relationship with yourself. You also deserve to embody your sexuality and enjoy passionate pursuits. Women-specific counseling and mentoring offers a safe space for you to talk about your real needs and all the places that cause you pain and suffering. Helping you connect to your “true self” does not have to feel threatening to other parts of your life. It can enhance other aspects such as parenting and your relationships. It can also give you the support and courage to release all the areas that no longer serve you. Intimacy and vulnerability can be accessed in ways that can be transformative for your life and can generalize to your friendships and romance. I provide online video counseling or online therapy via a HIPPA-compliant platform for women who would like to explore enhancing work/life balance as well as reclaiming “self” and sexuality. We can also meet in-person if that works better for you.

Women’s Mentoring Online Sessions

  • Relationship dissatisfaction, recovering from infidelity and betrayal, blocks to intimacy and trust, healing from break-ups or divorce, divorce transition, dating again

  • Feeling “not enough” or “unworthy of love”

  • Fear of abandonment in relationships, losing “self” in relationships and boundary problems

  • Repeating patterns such as finding “unavailable” partners, co-dependency

  • Body image issues and concerns, dissociation

  • Difficulties communicating needs and desires

  • Overcoming loss, unresolved grief

  • Trauma resolution

  • Aging, transitions

  • Owning shadow aspects of yourself

  • Repressed anger and rage

  • Role and identity, career concerns

  • PCOS, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, autoimmune disorders, thyroid disorders, nutrition deficits that impact mood, hormonal struggles, weight concerns

  • Post-menopause, perimenopause, post-pregnancy, hormone imbalance

  • Sexual problems, inability to orgasm, pain during sex, sex drive concerns, sexual compulsivity, sexual fear and aversion, shame related to sexuality, recovering from negative experiences, reclaiming sexuality after abuse, recovering from childhood sexual abuse, assault, violence, harassment, religious and cultural concerns, gender non-conforming, queer, transgender, LGBTQ+, kink, fetish, BDSM, sexual orientation, bisexuality, alternate lifestyle, poly lifestyle, open relationships

Coaching and Therapy for Men’s Issues

Men face their share of stress and pressure in today’s society. The early messages for men and boys is to “shut down” and not express emotions, and when they do, their authentic feelings are often met with reactions that induce shame. This leads to the suppression of normal and healthy feelings and emotions, and a reliance on coping skills that can be detrimental to masculine development, such as externalizing (acting out) and eventually, serious health problems. Men frequently lack the healthy integration of important parts of the “self,” they minimize feelings and emotions, fearing that they may appear weak. Many men have pressure to provide for their family and be “successful” producers in society, this contributes to fear, paralysis, stress and overwhelm. They choose work that may be financially rewarding but less so on a personal level of satisfaction. Not all women understand the unique pressures that men face as a result of society and cultural conditioning, leading to disconnection and alienation of “self.” As men age, they also experience sexual concerns that impact intimacy and their relationships with their partners. Working with a therapist can help men who have been conditioned to “shut down” and begin to feel less shame and guilt about embodying their “true” selves and honoring needs that deserve to be expressed and met with acceptance and support.

Psychotherapy For Adolescents + Adults

In order to determine if psychotherapy is right for you, a consultation in-person or online can help us explore how best to work together, either short-term or long-term. After your initial assessment, I will give you my opinion, and together, we can discuss your needs and create a treatment plan to move forward. We will also consider the duration of treatment and the approach or combination that will serve your goals. I have expertise in anxiety and mood disorders, women’s issues, addictions, compulsions, eating disorders, relationship problems, sexuality, identity concerns, self-defeating patterns and self-sabotage, lack of purpose, goal setting, spirituality, family of origin issues, trauma/PTSD, attachment deficits, self-esteem, transitions, loss, wellness coaching and an integrative therapy approach that addresses chronic pain and medical challenges.

Medication Management

Many studies show that the most effective treatment for many mental health disorders includes a comprehensive approach, such as CBT, supportive and psychodynamic psychotherapy combined with psychoactive medication. For some individuals, but not all, some combination of treatments is the safest approach. I work closely with trusted psychiatrists, psychiatric NP’s and psychopharmacologists, and can make appropriate referrals if you and I decide that you would benefit from this approach. If you are already in treatment I work closely with your providers to offer seamless mental health care. As a therapist who supports holistic treatments, I’m all for lifestyle changes, supplements, and a supportive diet. However, some individuals, because of their neurobiological makeup, cannot live a full and balanced life without the help of psychiatric medicine, in addition to supportive therapy approaches. I am happy to work collaboratively as a member of your treatment team.

Personal Transformation Coaching, Peak Performance + Professional High-profile Client Coaching NYC + Worldwide

Coaching is not therapy. Coaching clients are goal-oriented individuals who seek results in their lives. Hiring a transformation coach who is skilled to help uncover obstacles, as well as guide and support you in your journey is a powerful resource. Having help and guidance as you practice new behaviors can be incredibly supportive. Some individuals seek an expert "strategist" to guide efforts towards growth and change. Successful coaching unearths the stubborn and often unconscious dynamics that keep people anchored in their present reality, without addressing the underlying drive and dynamics, coaching fails. Partnering with a skilled life coach can be encouraging and empowering, and can help clients navigate change and the challenging aspects of their lives. Whether it’s taking control of one's health, losing weight, career issues, focusing on goal-attainment, repairing a relationship, getting "unstuck" or transitioning to a new chapter in life, coaching can provide the needed inspiration and support one desires. Working with a licensed trained psychotherapist can yield exceptional results. I regularly offer EMDR for blocks and peak-performance enhancement, mindfulness, meditation techniques, solution-focused strategies or cognitive and behavior techniques to my clients, combined with coaching strategies to help "stuck" clients move forward. I often use a model of depth-focused coaching to help clients dig a little deeper into the unconscious to facilitate the removal of blocks and patterns.

therapy for Depression

Clinical depression is a complicated condition that can be treated with supportive and interpersonal psychotherapy, medication and a collaborative approach to identify the biological and psychosocial factors that may have contributed to a patient's depressive symptoms. Some types of depression are: major depression, dysthymia, postpartum depression, premenstrual, seasonal affective disorder, atypical, situational and bipolar. Depression can be mild and show up with seasonal changes and it can be debilitating and interfere with activities of daily living, life skills, relationships, employment, hope and may also include the desire to end one’s life. Depression treatment is generally supportive in nature, and may require help with daily structure and coping skills and often requires working with other mental health professionals who are able to prescribe antidepressant treatment. Interpersonal psychotherapy, CBT and EMDR therapy can be effective treatments for depressed patients as can antidepressant use, light therapy, vitamin D, amino acids, supplements and other complementary therapies to discuss with your doctor. 

therapy for Anxiety

Anxiety symptoms bring many into therapy for the first time. They include: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety, separation anxiety, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Not all clients experience anxiety in the same way. For some, anxiety is a distress that presents in a specific situation such as performance, public speaking or test-taking. For others, anxiety may be experienced as chronic, and ranging from mild to debilitating, including uncomfortable physical symptoms. Anxiety sufferers are best helped by understanding emotional conflicts, environmental and genetic factors with treatment that may include talk therapy, CBT, stress reduction techniques, Somatic Experiencing (SE) and EMDR Therapy to target early trauma, memories and present-day distress.

Therapy For LOSS + BEREAVEMENT, Transitions

Losing something or someone is difficult and complicated for many reasons. Loss can include a loved-one, pet, health, job, lifestyle, home, identity, status, and more. Loss, especially when significant to the individual, requires mourning and grieving that loss, experiencing the associated feelings, and eventually, moving forward. Psychotherapy can give the individual a safe place to grieve and feel the sadness. The healing process is different for everyone as is the length of time required to heal.

Therapy for crisis management

Crisis counseling and management is intended to be brief, It is not the same as ongoing psychotherapy. Providing support for individuals, couples or families using crisis intervention therapy is focused on minimizing the stress of the event, if possible, providing emotional support and enhancing immediate coping skills. Crisis counseling involves careful assessment of the situation, planning, strategizing, treatment and focusing on the client’s immediate situation, such as needs and safety. Clients who seek counseling for a personal or professional crisis may need a more robust form of support, including extra sessions and extended time until the situation is resolved or they are feeling more resilient and better able to cope without the help of a mental health professional, psychotherapist or psychologist. 

Therapy for Addictions + Compulsions

I view addictive behaviors as symptoms of other underlying, unresolved issues and have developed a special interest in recovery support as well as having received specialized training in this area. Addictions such as substance abuse and process addictions are complex problems and can be successfully treated when other co-occurring difficulties are addressed, such as depression, panic disorder, ADD, Aspergers and personality disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Many may have more than two conditions that contribute to maladaptive coping responses. Some common addictions include: alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, shopping, video games, the internet, sex, pornography and work. Successful treatment for addictive behaviors is an integrative approach that may include some combination of psychotherapy and behavior treatments. EMDR therapy using addiction protocols, psychodynamic psychotherapy and dialectical behavior therapy or DBT skills are also very effective forms of treatment. 

Therapy for Trauma Treatment and PTSD

Early trauma and chronic, developmental and complex traumas that have impacted a patient's development and attachment relationships are the most difficult to heal. Psychotherapy can help validate the patient's experience, work through any feelings of shame and confusion that may have been internalized, process the traumatic experience or event and help them understand how their current life is impacted by traumatic experiences. Psychotherapy can help individuals identify triggers in daily experiences that creates symptoms and contributes to familiar self-defeating patterns and dynamics. While talk therapy can be a good place to begin for some trauma patients, EMDR, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and Somatic Experiencing are excellent treatment options to provide symptomatic relief and truly heal from trauma.

Loss + Bereavement Therapy

Losing something or someone is difficult and complicated for many reasons. Loss can include a loved-one, pet, health,  job, lifestyle, home, identity, status, and more. Loss, especially when significant to the individual, requires mourning and grieving that loss, experiencing the associated feelings, and eventually, moving forward. Psychotherapy can give the individual a safe place to grieve and feel the sadness. The healing process is different for everyone as is the length of time required to heal. 

Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Sessions UZIT

My interest in mind-body techniques and complementary medicine has allowed me to journey to some amazing places including workshops and training opportunities with experts in the field of integrative and functional medicine. Using my training with the Urban Zen Foundation and my yoga therapy training (RYT 200 + 500 hours), I help clients address anxiety insomnia, stress, trauma and chronic illness using a combination of guided imagery, breathing techniques, body scans, meditation and mindfulness. I've studied both aromatherapy and Reiki. Using the brilliance of neuroplasticity, western psychological theory, and the power of cutting-edge nutrition, yoga therapy, chakra work and other somatic psychotherapies, I truly enjoy helping clients who are open to these techniques heal on many levels. Together we can decide what might work best for your particular needs. Some examples of integrative therapy include: mindfulness training, lifestyle recommendations (nutrition, meditation, exercise, yoga and sleep), boundary work, shadow work, creative play, journaling, somatic therapy and more. 

therapy Modalities 

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is an evidence-based and active therapy that has a long history and tradition used in both short and long-term treatment. Psychodynamic sessions include the process of increasing self-awareness, encouraging self-expression, understanding conflicts, developing insight into the behaviors of self and other, unearthing unconscious content that can interfere with functioning and understanding patterns and dynamics that may have origins in the past but are played out in the "here and now." This form of therapy uses the relationship between patient and therapist to heal. The interpersonal relationship tends to be the focus of sessions as an active example of other relationships in the patient's life, so that patterns and distress can be "worked through" and not repeated outside of treatment.

EMDR Therapy, Brainspotting + Somatic Experiencing Techniques

As an EMDRIA-approved, level I + II trained EMDR therapist, I have enjoyed great success with clients using EMDR therapy for a variety of chronic, longstanding difficulties as well as recent traumatic incidents. I enjoy using EMDR therapy because it works, and can be a stand-alone treatment or integrated into ongoing talk therapy sessions to speed the healing process. I provide trauma resolution for PTSD symptoms, and healing for attachment deficits, developmental traumas, medical trauma and chronic physical and emotional abuse. Additionally, EMDR is an effective therapy for anxiety, obsessions, phobias, compulsions, panic attacks, depression, self-esteem, eating disorders, addictions and more. For individuals with anxiety, emotion regulation problems and in addiction recovery, elements of EMDR therapy can help clients develop and strengthen self-soothing inner resources. A combination of EMDR and coaching is an effective treatment combination for sports and peak performance enhancement and creative and performance blocks and can be seamlessly integrated into coaching sessions with executives and high-profile, performance-oriented clients. Brainspotting, another technique developed by David Grand, PhD, combined with EMDR psychotherapy is a technique I use to address attachment issues, unresolved trauma, pre-verbal trauma and performance problems. EMDR is an evidence-based treatment that targets many symptoms and conditions including trauma, negative memories, phobias, fears, anxiety, addictions, compulsions and performance difficulties. Originally used to treat Veterans, EMDR therapy is now one of the most efficient and effective trauma/symptom treatment methods that allows clients to fully heal from their psychological wounds. EMDR can successfully be integrated into psychotherapy sessions. Many clients find EMDR to be more effective than other forms of therapy including CBT and traditional “talk therapy.” EMDR is especially helpful with performance and creative blocks. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on examining and changing maladaptive thoughts and behaviors. CBT tends to be a short-term approach that is highly-effective for many with empirically-tested techniques supporting an increase in skills and a change in behaviors. CBT is an effective solution for a variety of concerns including anxiety, depression and addictions/substance abuse.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT was originally developed for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. With time, DBT skills and techniques have been found to be helpful for individuals who struggle in many areas of life including substance abuse and addictions. DBT treatment combines ideas of awareness, acceptance and change from mindfulness with a range of psychological theories. Because DBT skills are practical and can be generalized into many areas of life, DBT can be successfully integrated into treatment plans and used in a variety of treatment settings. DBT uses mindfulness and other skills to help increase emotion regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness with the goal of helping patient's cope, de-escalate, and self-regulate. 

Focusing-Oriented Therapy

Developed in the 1970s by psychologist Dr. Eugene Gendlin at the University of Chicago, Focusing-Oriented Therapy is non-directive as the therapist guides the client to connect to the "felt sense" which then allows the client to explore troubling emotions and feelings, helping them turn inward and find the answers needed to heal. Focusing can help clients access their own inner wisdom and strength by inviting the non-judgmental attention to body sensations, inner "knowing," thoughts, feelings and imagery which may come in the form of words or pre-verbal and non-verbal experiences. Experiences and traumas reside in the body and long for attention even when they have not been consciously thought or verbalized. Focusing-Oriented Therapy can support one's own natural healing while increasing insight and awareness, helping clients gain a broader perspective of current and historical circumstances that have created pain, suffering and blockages. This powerful technique can reduce anxiety and depression, resolve individual and collective traumas, heal feelings of loss and neglect, increase performance skills, improve emotional regulation, increase relaxation, support immune function, support clients with medical and pain issues, support decision-making and more. It is this locating of the felt sense and its shift that causes true psychological change, empowerment, the restoration of self and enhanced well-being. Focusing-oriented therapy can be conducted using online therapy and video sessions.

Mindfulness Therapy

Mindfulness is the practice of moment-to-moment awareness of feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations as well as an awareness of the environment and one's surroundings. Mindfulness, as a philosophy, has more recently become a widely-used and helpful practice in the fields of psychology and psychotherapy. Additionally, mindfulness is an empirically-validated practice with data that supports its efficacy and application in a range of clinical and non-clinical settings. A mindfulness practice includes the observation of feelings, emotions and sensations, a non-judgmental presence and the awareness and acceptance of the present moment. 

Recovery Support, Aftercare + Consultations for family members

Individuals just released from addiction or eating disorder inpatient treatment can benefit from supportive care following rehab stays. This may take the form of individual psychotherapy, EMDR trauma treatment, and when helpful, family therapy. Getting a loved-one into treatment and finding the right program requires help, support and resources. Additionally, family members experience strong emotions related to the experience of having a family member who is addicted and at-risk. Consulting with a mental health professional can help individuals and family members make better decisions Recovery support can help clients and family members with the following concerns:

  • Build on the useful tools learned during rehab as maintenance care

  • Maintaining motivation and staying focused on personal goals 

  • Support for creating healthy and safe boundaries for self and others, identifying needs, communicating effectively, learning to ask for help, and self-empowerment

  • Repairing relationships and gaining support for maintaining the energy, passion and desire for healthy relationships

  • Help with engaging in activities and relationships that replace the desire to use drugs or engage in harmful behaviors 

  • Creating a self-care practice that nourishes mind and body, maintaining support and positivity

  • Learn to identify cravings and triggers

  • Celebrate important gains, achievements and learn to make healthier choices

  • Support with structure, activities, exercise, nutrition, socializing and sleep hygiene

  • Help with learning to be present, tolerate discomfort and live in the present moment

Therapy FAQ’s

What happens in therapy and counseling sessions?

Even though you may have good friends and family members to talk with, a psychotherapist or psychologist with professional training is able to see things from a different lens and even challenge and support you in ways that the people in your life cannot. Therapy helps people gain relief from unpleasant feelings and thoughts, create more fulfilling and meaningful relationships, and gain more pleasure and control in their lives. Effective psychotherapy and counseling helps clients get to the root of their difficulties and learn ways to become more self-aware, cope with difficult emotions, improve mood, gain control, feel connected to others, develop the skills to handle future problems, and live more fulfilling and satisfying lives. Therapists can provide support, practical problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for many life challenges and issues. Many people also find that counselors or psychotherapists can help with career concerns, managing personal growth, professional relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, parenting challenges, developing healthier habits, connecting to the body, understanding thoughts, feelings and emotions, balancing the stress of daily life and goal-setting.

High-achieving, successful individuals often experience emptiness, unhappiness, disappointment, loneliness, stress, anxiety and interpersonal problems. These concerns can lead to less than desirable coping solutions such as addictions, alcohol and drug abuse, eating problems and sleep deficits.. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or help their clients discover helpful solutions. Many lasting benefits can be obtained from personal, couples or group therapy. You can learn more about therapy from the American Psychological Association or APA.

How do i know what to look for in a therapist?

When you choose a therapist, you should feel “heard” and “seen” as well as understood and certainly not judged for the concerns that led you to seek counseling. A “good fit” is often described to explain how you should feel about the psychotherapist, counselor or psychologist you choose to work with. You should feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings with your potential therapist as the process requires an investment of time and emotional energy. Your therapist should have good interpersonal skills as well as empathy and compassion. You should choose a therapist who has training in the areas that you are seeking help with. Some therapists have received specialized training in areas such as trauma, addictions or eating disorders. If your problems are serious enough to impact the quality of your life and your ability to function, you may need to find a specialist or someone who specializes in your particular problem. Many therapists have received general psychotherapy training and consider themselves generalists and are able to treat a range of difficulties. Some psychotherapists have received specialized training in addition to graduate school which helps them specialize and be experts in that area of healing

Psychotherapists, Psychologists, Psychoanalysts and Psychiatrists—Whats the Difference?

A psychotherapist is a mental health professional who may have an MD, Master’s or Doctoral degree and may use “talk therapy” as well as “somatic-based therapies” to help people experience and understand their emotional life. Psychotherapists may be psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, counselors and marriage and family therapists. They have varying years of foundation training, and some, not all go on to receive advanced, post-graduate training in specialized areas. Psychiatrists are MD’s and are able to prescribe medication but may not provide psychotherapy, some do. A psychologist has a doctoral degree as a foundation in psychology and may or may not have received additional expertise and training in a specialized healing modality. Some Psychologists work in research, others provide therapy. Psychoanalysts have been through an extensive training experience which includes their own psychoanalysis or psychological exploration. They help people develop awareness of unconscious aspects of the mind. Some training institutes are allowing individuals with any graduate degree (law, history, as examples) study psychoanalysis and become psychoanalysts. You may not know whether your therapist has had their own in-depth therapy, it’s a question that you can ask. In my opinion, good psychotherapists have had their own good therapy.

how long will i need to be in therapy?

Your personal needs and goals are always a priority, and will shape the time you spend in sessions. Many individuals desire focused, structured and time-limited sessions with a clear plan, targeting specific problems or goals that can be met within a relatively short period of time. Other difficulties require a more intensive focus and may take longer to resolve. This is especially true when people have been struggling for a long time and patterns and habits are rigid and entrenched. Some will do best with once weekly sessions, while others benefit from meeting twice weekly, or more when in crisis. Consistent sessions allow clients to examine patterns and dynamics that may interfere with healthy functioning. 

What kind of therapy should i be looking for?

Increasing insight into problems and self-awareness is one goal of therapy, but unfortunately, that alone does not always lead to the desired change. For this reason, and with certain clients, it may be necessary to implement behavioral changes and track progress between sessions. Some clients need targeted, specific types of therapies that resolve symptoms related to trauma. The duration of treatment is highly variable and depends on many factors, including: the nature of the problem, client motivation and having realistic goals for change. Depending on client needs, one may benefit from a number of different therapeutic strategies and techniques. In your initial consultation, you should work with your therapist to figure out the best approach for you. Therapists may use or combine the following approaches: psychoanalysis, psychodynamic psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, relational therapy, interpersonal, humanistic, gestalt, attachment-focused therapy, trauma resolution techniques as well as evidence-based therapies such as EMDR therapy, Somatic Experiencing (SE), Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT to name a few.

What is Integrative Psychotherapy and how are people helped by this approach?

  • EMDR therapy can increase the capacity to experience calm and comfort in the body, release trauma, uncover hidden blocking beliefs that may be sabotaging success and happiness or contributing to anxiety and depression, reduce the impact of negative experiences

  • Address dissociation, body image, eating disorders, compulsions, addictions, substance use or abuse and obsessions using cutting-edge therapies such as EMDR, focusing, somatic experiencing techniques and brainspotting, mindfulness meditation, biofeedback techniques, guided imagery, breathing techniques, restorative yoga therapy 

  • Learn more adaptive coping skills and self-soothing techniques and develop nurturing self-care rituals 

  • Process and heal painful feelings of loneliness, disappointment, sadness, loss, grief, guilt, shame, anger, envy and fear

  • Develop enhanced attention and awareness through relaxation techniques, mindfulness and radical acceptance

  • Resolve trauma and abuse symptoms, develop healthier boundaries and heal early attachment wounds

  • Unearth parts of yourself that are dissociated and explore areas of spirituality and your true nature

  • Connect with shadow aspects of the self for healthier integration as you learn to set healthy boundaries

  • Heal physical symptoms of disease and pain by connecting to sensations and trauma held in the body, habitual thoughts and unexpressed emotions

  • Learn breathing techniques to support the relaxation response

Are my therapy Sessions confidential?

It is important to know that everything you say during psychotherapy sessions will be kept confidential. The only exceptions are when there is a danger that you may harm yourself or someone else, or in active cases of abuse. Mental health professionals are obligated by law to disclose that information to the appropriate authorities. These situations are rare. Most people find it a great relief to have a safe place where they are able to share what's on their mind with a non-judgmental, supportive and trained professional.

what Life changes can you expect with effective therapy or coaching?

  • Reframe current life circumstances and gain a different perspective

  • Learn to manage difficult work and personal transitions and changes such as marriage, new baby, mid-life problems and aging

  • Gain the support needed to get through difficult times such as loss and change

  • Learn to feel and live a more authentic life, accept feelings of being “different”

  • Develop healthy self-esteem and resolve persistent negative “self-states”

  • Develop healthier coping skills, habits and boundaries

  • Have healthier personal and work relationships

  • Develop awareness of any repetitive patterns that interfere with success and happiness by understanding how past dynamics interfere with the present

  • Learn to better manage difficult people both personally and professionally

  • Develop a path of purpose and life fulfillment

  • Heal from past trauma and abuse and process traumatic memories and dissociation

  • Increase insight and self-awareness and identify innate strengths

  • Improve communication, learn conflict resolution, develop better listening and self-assertion skills

  • Address depression, sadness, feelings of despair and isolation

  • Learn helpful coping skills for stress, anxiety, phobias and panic attacks

  • Relieve stress and insomnia and learn relaxation responses

  • Manage destructive patterns that include drinking, eating, drugs, addictions and self-harm

  • Understand negative and habitual patterns of thinking and behaving

  • Resolve writing, creative and other performance blocks

  • Mourn losses such as separation, divorce, miscarriage, infertility or the death of a loved-one

  • Develop effective parenting skills

  • Address problems related to chronic pain, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, medical procedures and diagnoses

  • Heal from sexual abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, domestic violence and natural disasters

  • Resolve sexual and identity concerns

  • Manage feelings of overwhelm, feel more embodied and develop an awareness connection between mind and body