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What is EMDR Intensive Therapy?

EMDR Intensive Therapy is a powerful way to accelerate the healing that you would experience in a typical EMDR session. Rather than going to counseling for an hour session once a week, you would set aside a specific chunk of time - 3 hours or 3 days - for intensive therapeutic work. It is a concentrated way to get the power of EMDR without having time in between sessions. It helps people journey deeper and feel better faster.


Clients often dedicate 1-4 days towards their personalized EMDR intensive. It can occur in up to 4 days in a row or over 1 to 2 weekends. But, this will depend on your personalized needs and the recommendations of your therapist. We offer half-day (3 hours per day) and full-day (6 hours per day) options for intensives. In each option, we include some breaks throughout the session duration.

Evidence that EMDR is effective

A study by the National Association of Social workers showed survivors of childhood sexual abuse had better results immediately after and three months after EMDR.

A study by Kaiser Permanente found 100% of participants who had a single trauma could no longer be diagnosed with PTSD after EMDR treatment.

The EMDR International Association found EMDR so effective for patients with General Anxiety Disorder that participants showed no symptoms after two months of treatment.


Prior to the EMDR Intensive, we meet for a Pre-Intensive Interview to determine the goal of the time. We will look at what your life looks like now (your support system, stressors, ways you cope, and places that you want relief, growth, or to take a big step forward). During the EMDR Intensive we do 2 things: 1) Make the painful stuff in your life hurt less and 2) Help the good stuff feel even better. We do this with EMDR Reprocessing as well as resourcing activities like guided meditation, sand tray, or artwork - incorporating the bilateral stimulation used in EMDR. Depending on where you are in your journey, we may spend time on your earliest relationships in life (i.e. attachment). For others, the focus is more future oriented. This process can be very personal and customized to you. After the EMDR Intensive, we meet for a Post-Intensive Interview to reflect on the elements that were most meaningful to you and how you want to infuse that into your life moving forward. I emphasize sharing insights with the important people in your life, so they can partner with you and celebrate your progress!


This session serves multiple purposes including determining if an EMDR intensive is a good fit for you as well as setting intentions and specific goals for the EMDR intensive. This creates an opportunity for a customized experience during your intensive that is targeted towards your specific intentions and goals. An example may be “I want to have better relationships with people”. After establishing that intention, we would specifically look at traumatic memories and negative core beliefs that are blocking you from attaining that specific goal and process those memories during your intensive.  

Image by Vlad Bagacian

Perhaps the journey isn't so much about becoming something. Maybe, it's about unbecoming everything that isn't you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.

Paul Coelho


  • You want to experience deep therapeutic work that can change your life

  • You had a very painful experience that is still impacting you today

  • You have done EMDR before and found it helpful for your healing and wellbeing

  • You want to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for a big life event like a wedding, becoming a parent, a medical procedure, starting a new job, or moving to a new city

  • You already go to weekly therapy and you feel stuck or on the verge of a break through. 



You may be worried about processing traumatic memories for 3-4 hours straight. This is actually not the case and not recommended for even the most stable clients. Typically, we will spend some time reviewing what trauma is, symptoms of PTSD, understanding trauma in the brain, and understanding the development of negative core beliefs. We will then do EMDR resourcing which is mentioned below and helps with stabilization and preparation for processing memories. This is followed by identifying the potential targets for EMDR processing and understanding connections between current symptoms and these past target memories. Actual processing of traumatic memories is done in bursts of 45-60 minutes with breaks to debrief and relax between.   


In EMDR resourcing, we use some form of slow bilateral stimulation (back and forth tapping, vibration, eye movements, and/or sound) which helps to engage and soothe the nervous system while strengthening the memory or resource being activated. Since many symptoms of PTSD are related to the nervous system responding to a past trauma as if it were happening right now, being able to shift yourself out of a distressing state into a more relaxed state is not only empowering, but also significantly improves your ability to process traumatic memories safely. This stabilization phase of EMDR is incorporated into each EMDR intensive to help prepare you for processing trauma and regulating emotions and trauma responses in daily life.  


The goal of an EMDR intensive is to process through one significant trauma or multiple traumas in an intensive but shortened amount of time (3-4 hours). Some studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three sessions of EMDR. An EMDR intensive would basically entail 3 EMDR sessions in one! The intensive appointment length allows you to end your session at a much lower level of distress and with potentially fewer side effects following your treatment session, compared to a series of weekly appointments. 


EMDR intensives can eliminate weeks or even months of living with trauma symptoms. The hard part in weekly therapy is devoting every single minute of every session to actually doing EMDR. Things come up in daily life and sessions are often spent problem solving, safety planning, or trying to understand emotions about situations, which are important but do not necessarily relieve symptoms of trauma.



In traditional talk therapy, you may spend time exploring your thoughts and feelings about current and even past situations, but in an EMDR intensive, you will be able to rapidly make connections between your current symptoms, past experiences, and core beliefs developed throughout life. This process can be very eye opening for clients and they leave feeling as if they unlocked aspects of themselves for the first time as well as understand themselves and their responses from a completely different perspective.  

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