What is EMDR?!?

EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing – Therapy is an evidence-based protocol for addressing a number of mental health issues, including:

Complex Trauma & cPTSD

Single-incident Trauma

Grief & Loss

Socio-political Trauma: racism, misogyny, ableism, queer/transphobia, identity discrimination, micro-aggressions, etc



Sleep Disturbance



Family Relationships

Workplace Stressors

Goals and Habits

Personal & Professional Performance

EMDR therapy was developed by Francine Shapiro, PhD in 1989 and has been a widely researched, affirmed, and evidence-based psychotherapy practice since.  The International Association of EMDR defines this therapy as,

“Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In addition, successful outcomes are well-documented in the literature for EMDR treatment of other psychiatric disorders, mental health problems, and somatic symptoms. The model on which EMDR is based, Adaptive Information Processing (AIP), posits that much of psychopathology is due to the maladaptive encoding of and/or incomplete processing of traumatic or disturbing adverse life experiences. This impairs the client’s ability to integrate these experiences in an adaptive manner. The eightphase, three-pronged process of EMDR facilitates the resumption of normal information processing and integration. This treatment approach, which targets past experience, current triggers, and future potential challenges, results in the alleviation of presenting symptoms, a decrease or elimination of distress from the disturbing memory, improved view of the
self, relief from bodily disturbance, and resolution of present and future anticipated triggers.” ~ EMDRIA.org

I like to think of EMDR as harnessing the brain’s and body’s natural system for healing itself through the processing of information (thoughts, memories, images, beliefs).  Through bilateral stimulation (eye movements or hand-held pulsers [think cell phone vibration]), an EMDR therapist guides a client through processing one target (incident, event, memory, troubling issue) at a time until that target no longer presents any disturbance (emotional or physical) to the client.  As a clinician who has used various interventions and therapy approaches to address trauma over the past 10+ years I have been in practice, I find EMDR to be one of the most efficient and thorough methods for addressing the emotional and physical disturbances present with trauma, grief, depression, anxiety, and loss.  Talk therapy is an important companion along side EMDR in order to lay a foundation of rapport between therapist and client, to address the restoration of person/identity, to cultivate resilience practices, and to learn and understand interpersonal dynamics and behavior patterns.

To learn more, or schedule an intake session, please contact Jennifer at 210-382-4155 or jennifer@aspacetothrive.com


  • How long is an EMDR session?
    • I like to schedule 90 minutes to 2 hours per EMDR session so we have enough time for the process, debriefing, and containment
  • How much does an EMDR session cost?
    • There is no additional fee for EMDR therapy.  The same fees apply per therapy hour: 90min session is $200; 2 hour session is $270
  • How do I care for myself after an EMDR session?
    • We will talk about how to journal or log the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and triggers that come up for you after an EMDR session so you have a place to process between sessions
    • I always recommend extra nurturing self-care practices after session:
      • Drink plenty of water
      • Take a nap if needed
      • Eat a meal that includes protein and fresh produce
      • Be kind to yourself
      • Be gentle with your schedule/demands
  • When should I schedule an EMDR session?
    • When and where possible, I encourage clients to schedule EMDR sessions toward the end of the day, and/or end of the week so you have some down-time to rest
    • Some people have no problem going back to work or class after an EMDR session, some people prefer to not have to be “on” after a session
    • You know yourself best and you will also learn what works and what doesn’t after your first few sessions
  • What should I wear to an EMDR session?
    • There is no special recommendation for how to dress for EMDR session.  I’m always a big fan of comfort-wear!  My clients are always free to kick off shoes and curl up on the couch, or prop feet up on the ottoman…my office is a space to get/be comfortable.
  • How many sessions of EMDR do I need?
    • While there is no “one-size-fits-all” prescription for therapy sessions, many clients find they can move through their targets in 4-8 EMDR sessions.  It all depends on you, your goals, and your needs.
    • Once targets are cleared, a client may want to continue with talk therapy to address other areas such as:
      • communication
      • intimacy and connection
      • restoration of self
      • interpersonal relationships
      • coping and resiliency maintenance
  • I have other questions that weren’t addressed here.
    • I’d be happy to talk with you for a free 20 minute consultation to answer any questions and to see if EMDR therapy may be a useful process for you in your healing and recovery journey.  To set up a consultation appointment click here, or call Jennifer at 210-382-4155 or email her at: jennifer@aspacetothrive.com.