EMDR Therapy in Austin

Half of a woman's face, with a close up on her brown eye, is framed by lush green vines. Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing or EMDR therapy is a powerful form of trauma therapy.

Photo by nathan burrows on Unsplash.

EMDR therapy is a popular form of trauma therapy.  EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

When I first heard about EMDR, I remember thinking it sounded totally kooky and bizarre.

I didn’t go looking for ‘EMDR therapists near me’ in my preliminary online searches back then.  I was looking for more traditional talk therapy at the time.

It wasn’t until a therapist I knew and deeply trusted introduced EMDR counseling into my own work as a client that I knew I needed to pursue the training, so I could offer it to my own clients.

I did some EMDR counseling on some old trauma of my own, something I had talked about for ages with lots of other therapists.  Within a single session, I felt some things shift for me powerfully that have remained with me to this day.

Granted, EMDR therapy is not a one-size-fits-all, one-session cure.  I am not trying to suggest that it is.  Skillful and effective trauma therapy is complex and nuanced.

For me, that one session of EMDR counseling offered a powerful shift within a years-long therapeutic treatment with a skilled therapist I trusted.  And it doesn’t work for every problem or every person.

The timing of things is important.

Understanding your coping methods is important.

Buy in, a strong sense of trust between you and me, thoughtful pacing and treatment planning, all of these are critical components to having a successful treatment with EMDR.

And here’s some really good news:  EMDR therapy in Austin is very popular.  There are hundreds of EMDR-trained therapists to choose from in this town.  So you can afford to be picky as you search.

If you’ve been starting at your computer screen, typing in ‘EMDR therapist near me’ and not feeling hopeful and excited about the options, touch base with me.  Even if I’m not the right therapist for you, I’m happy to help you link up with someone who is!

What does EMDR therapy do?

A young child clutches a lit white lantern, wearing an oversized sweater and leaning against a wall of wooden planks. Fall leaves are at her feet. Her face cannot be seen. Recovery from childhood trauma is possible, and EMDR is one form of trauma counseling that may help.

Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash.

It’s one thing to understand at an intellectual level that something is undeserved—

an old negative belief,

a harsh inner critic,

a recollection of a parent’s abuse or neglect in your childhood–

…and it’s entirely another thing to really, truly be able to be able to make peace with it in your heart. 

To know that it wasn’t your fault.  

To know deeply that you are not somehow defective or deserving of this suffering.

To be able to incorporate these pieces with true compassion for yourself.

This kind of healing is not an intellectual exercise.

If having an intellectual understanding of some truth was all that it took to heal trauma, we wouldn’t need therapy.  We could simply read self-help books and get all the comfort and resolution we needed from them.

In most cases, lasting change isn’t just about intellectual understanding. 

It’s about knowing things deeply in your heart.  It’s about not having to build a case against old pain and wounds with your behaviors and thoughts.  It’s about being able to show up, as you are, unabashedly.

Sometimes, talk therapy can get you there.  Sometimes, other strategies are needed.  That’s where EMDR comes in.

EMDR counseling targets painful moments with precision, unearthing the negative beliefs that land in our psyches after a trauma, and wearing those away until we can reflect on the traumatic experience in a calm, clear-headed manner.

It marshalls the wisdom of our bodies and nervous systems to work out old pain and memories in a new way.  Very little talking is involved.

It’s a way to return-to-sender a lot of the unwelcome and very painful messages that come along with trauma, big stuff like…

I’m unloveable

I’m unsafe

I can’t trust myself

I can’t trust anyone

It’s my fault

A bird's eye view of a small boy sitting at a table with both hands pressed on a red paper cutout of a heart folded in half. He seems healthy and hopeful and represents recovery from childhood abuse.

Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash

And replaces it with things like…

It wasn’t my fault.

I’m safe now.

I am loveable and worthy.

I have learned a lot and can trust myself and my judgment.

I know these may sound like a list of corny, gimmicky affirmations.

But, when these notions dawn on you in therapy, when they really feel true and like they’ve always been true, it can be life-changing.

What does EMDR therapy look like in session?

The short video below offers some insights from clients who have participated in EMDR counseling in their treatment.

EMDR therapy is a powerful form of treatment that can address…

  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Addictions
  • Disturbing Memories
  • Traumatic Events
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Sexual Assault
  • Childhood Abuse
  • Panic Attacks
  • Phobias
  • Stress
  • Pain Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Attachment Disorders
  • Grief Recovery
  • Depression

How does EMDR counseling work?

A hand holding an old-fashioned compass is in the foreground. The background shows a blurry forest scene. EMDR counseling can help you on your journey to healing and recovery.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash.

EMDR therapy was first developed in 1987. Since then, it has been subjected to rigorous research in 20 controlled studies.

Here’s the funny thing:  in spite of all those studies, researchers still do not fully understand how EMDR works.  (I am sure NIMH is just thrilled with that outcome.)

But here’s the neat part: studies examining treatment outcomes suggest that EMDR therapy is as good as many other forms of trauma therapy.

And, some studies suggest that EMDR therapy achieves better outcomes in less time and with less client distress as compared with other leading forms of trauma therapy.

I trained in EMDR therapy in Austin with Rick Levinson in 2009 and have been practicing this form of therapy ever since.  If you’re a therapist reading this, I highly recommend Rick’s EMDR training.

As I mentioned before, EMDR therapy in Austin is quite popular.  As with any form of trauma counseling, it is helpful to work with someone with whom you feel comfortable and safe.  So, try to meet with at least a few EMDR-trained therapists before making a choice about who to see.

This is one of the reasons I offer free consultations– a good fit between therapist and client is really important for therapeutic progress. You can send me a note to schedule your free consultation if you’re ready or take a peek at these testimonials if you’d like to hear what others have to say about me.

If you are looking for EMDR therapy in Austin and are looking for a different fit (eg, male therapist, different part of town), let me know.  I’ll try to help you connect with the right person.

If you are interested in learning more about this treatment approach, please feel free to bring questions to your complimentary consultation. You may also go to www.emdria.org to learn more.

Fun fact:  EMDRIA is based in Austin, Texas.  (I told you EMDR therapy is popular in Austin!)