top of page

Intensive EMDR therapy for deep healing

EMDR Intensives & Retreats

What is EMDR and what can it do?

EMDR (Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprossessing) is a 8-phase modality that reduces the vividness and emotions associated with adverse experiences.  It is common for clients to report that adverse experiences that were previously very upsetting are dimmer, less easily recalled or triggered, and no longer emotionally charged.

One thing that makes EMDR so successfull is it also targets and challenges beliefs that result from these challenging experiences.  For example, a child growing up with neglectful parents may develop core beliefs of "I'm unimportant."  EMDR would target both the adverse experience of neglect along with the core belief of lacking importance, and commonly the result of treatment is that the client's core belief adapts towards "I have importance."  Changes like this are profound and can impact many areas in the client's present life.

Why an intensive instead of a normal 50-minute psychotherapy session?

Intensives are a much more efficient way to deliver EMDR treatment than the standard 50 minute weekly session model.  A two day intensive (12 hours) can be equivalent to 4-6 months of weekly therapy!

An intensive EMDR approach may reduce treatment time overall because time is not spent on checking in at the beginning of each session, discussing present concerns, learning coping skills that will not be needed after healing, or summarizing and concluding each individual session.

Because of the intensive nature of EMDR and the robust history taking and set up required in the early phases, you will leave with a significantly increased understanding of yourself, your vulnerabilities, and your triggers.  In addition to working through the eight phases of EMDR, you will have a workbook tailored to your intensive experience.  This workbook will help you prepare for the intensive, process what's happened during it, and integrate the material going forward.  Your individualized workbook is yours to keep and can become a road map for going forward therapeutically.  Going forward can mean a plan for self-managment, another future intensive with me, or it could be a template you work from with another weekly therapist.  I hear over and over that the workbook is one of the most important and appreciated parts of the intensive process. 

Who can benefit from EMDR?

EMDR addresses the psychological and physical symptoms resulting from adverse life experiences, including emotional/physical/ sexual traumas, neglect, grief and loss, phobias, anxieties, and others.  EMDR intensives are offered both online and in person.

If I already have a therapist, can I do an EMDR intensive as adjunct therapy?

Yes!  I am more than happy to collaborate with your ongoing therapist.  EMDR intensive treatment can pair very well with ongoing therapy with another provider.  EMDR can be used to process past trauma or adverse experiences from the past that may have become sticking point in your current life.  EMDR can help provide shifts in healing that facilitate your ongoing treatment with your primary therapist. Sometimes clients can cognitively undertand something but they struggle to fully integrate this knowing into their heart and bodies, and an EMDR intensive can help you achieve more thorough integration.  We will identify what format is best for you during your initial consultation.

What can I expect to accomplish in a half-day intensive?

A half-day intensive offers many resources and can help to either increase performance and confidence, or significantly decrease the devastating effects of single event trauma (e.g. negative cognitions, disturbing emotions and body sensations). While significant healing can occur in one half-day intensive, Complex PTSD deserves more treatment than one half-day intensive and is usually better served by longer intensives unless significant work and EMDR has been done previously.

What can I expect to accomplish in a 2-day intensive?

Participating in a 2-day EMDR intensive presents the opportunity for impactful change more efficiently than weekly, 50-minute sessions or even one half-day intensive.  In a 2-day (full days) intensive, I would generally expect to complete at least some of the 8 phases of EMDR on at least one target; some may move significantly faster than this, and some may move slower.  The speed is generally dependent on each individual person's processing speed and the complexity of their memory networks and associated core beliefs. 

What does the research say about the EMDR Intensive format?

  • Intensive application of trauma-focused therapy seems to be well tolerated in patients with PTSD, enabling faster symptom reduction with similar, or even better, results, while reducing the risk that patients drop out prematurely. Learn more here and here.

  • Intensive EMDR treatment is feasible and is indicative of reliable improvement in PTSD symptoms in a very short time frame. Learn more here.

  • An intensive program using EMDR therapy is a potentially safe and effective treatment alternative for complex PTSD. Learn more here.

  • The economic benefit of intensive trauma treatment is compelling: even compared to other trauma therapy, the intensive format may decrease treatment time, because of time not spent on a) checking in at the beginning of each session, b) addressing current crises and concerns, c) focusing on stabilizing and coping skills that the client won’t need after trauma healing, or d) assisting the client in regaining composure at the end of the session. Learn more here.

Do I have to live in Colorado to do an intensive?

I can currently provide therapy services in Colorado, Florida, and Arizona.  This means that I can do a virtual (online) intensive with clients only residing in these states.  However, no matter what state you live in, I can do intensive work with any client who travels to Colorado.  I provide intensives in my south Denver area offices (Centennial or Highlands Ranch), and retreats are possible that would allow you to complete your intensive in a resort atmosphere in the Denver area, Vail, Breckenridge, or Colorado Springs.  Retreats can combine activities like hiking and nature, spa, yoga, and more with your intensive experience.  There are additional costs for retreats outside of the south Denver area.  The intensive fee does not include room and board.  Please contact me if you're interested in a retreat, and we can discuss possibilities and cost.

Will insurance cover my intensive?

I am an out of network provider for all insurances.  While insurance has not generally acknowledged the benefits of intensive treatment (yet!), most insurances should allow at least 1 hour of the intensive each day, but the amount of any possible insurance reimbursement is going to depend on your individual coverage, deductible, and policy specifics.  If this is a deciding factor for you in seeking treatment, please reach out to your insurance and ask if out of network extended (intensive) sessions are covered and at what rate.  I can give you a list of questions to ask with relevant CPT codes when you call your insurer; if you want these, please email and ask.

If you'd like to discuss your individual situation and whether you would be a good fit for an EMDR intensive, please reach out via phone or the contact form here for a complimentary 15 minute consult.

bottom of page