Family & Child Therapy now offering EMDR Intensives. But what are they, exactly? Jenna DeVore, MSW, explains
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) has gained significant recognition as an effective therapy for individuals grappling with various forms of life stress and trauma. Traditional EMDR sessions are typically spread out over several weeks or months, but a growing trend in the therapeutic landscape is the use of EMDR ‘Intensives’. These intensive sessions can condense the treatment process into a shorter time frame and allows the flexibility of concentrating important therapeutic goals into a fluid and continuous processing session that can be interrupted by traditional time constraints within a standard session (usually 45-50 minutes). EMDR Intensives offer a unique and potentially transformative approach to the healing journey.
EMDR is a psychotherapy technique developed by Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s. It involves a structured eight-phase approach that includes assessing the client's history, developing treatment plans, and utilizing bilateral stimulation (often through eye movements) to help process distressing memories.
What Sets EMDR Intensives Apart?
EMDR intensives compress the traditional weekly or bi-weekly sessions into consecutive days or a weekend. This concentrated timeframe is believed to provide a more immersive experience, allowing individuals to delve deeper into their most critical stress events or trauma and make significant progress in a shorter period.
2. Focused Attention:
During EMDR intensives, clients benefit from extended, focused attention from their therapists. This can lead to a more in-depth exploration of traumatic experiences and a quicker identification of core issues, fostering a sense of safety and connection.
3. Continuous Processing:
The consecutive nature of intensives enables clients to maintain a continuous flow of processing without the interruptions of waiting between sessions. This continuity may enhance the effectiveness of EMDR by keeping the therapeutic momentum going.
4. Immediate Integration:
EMDR intensives often involve immediate integration of the processed material. This means clients have the opportunity to work through and integrate insights and emotions in real-time, potentially accelerating the healing process.
5. Intensified Support:
Clients participating in EMDR intensives often experience heightened support from their therapists. This intensive support can be particularly beneficial for those dealing with complex or severe trauma, providing a more secure and contained space for processing challenging emotions.
Considerations and Caution:
While EMDR intensives can be a powerful therapeutic tool, they might not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with certain mental health conditions or those who find intense emotional processing overwhelming should approach intensives with caution. Additionally, the therapist's expertise and the client's readiness for this immersive experience play crucial roles in the success of EMDR intensives.
EMDR intensives represent a dynamic evolution in trauma therapy, offering a condensed yet comprehensive approach to healing. The intensified support, continuous processing, and immediate integration can be especially beneficial for individuals seeking a more immersive and efficient path to recovery. As with any therapeutic approach, careful consideration of individual needs and readiness is essential, but for many, EMDR intensives are proving to be a transformative and empowering step on the journey toward healing from trauma.