Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a highly effective and evidence-based approach to psychotherapy that has gained recognition for its success in treating trauma-related disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety.
Developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro, EMDR therapy has since been widely used and has garnered support from numerous studies and mental health professionals worldwide.
This article explores some of the best EMDR therapists in Los Angeles. It also discusses the key principles, techniques, and benefits of EMDR therapy, shedding light on how it can provide healing and relief for individuals struggling with trauma and anxiety.
What is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach designed to help individuals process distressing memories and experiences that have become “stuck” or unresolved.
It recognizes that unprocessed traumatic memories can contribute to various mental health issues, including anxiety disorders.
By stimulating bilateral brain activity through eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation, EMDR therapy facilitates the reprocessing of traumatic memories, allowing individuals to make meaning, gain new insights, and achieve emotional healing.
The Phases of EMDR Therapy
EMDR therapy consists of several distinct phases, each serving a specific purpose in the healing process:
1. History Taking: In this initial phase, the EMDR therapist gathers comprehensive information about the individual’s history, trauma experiences, symptoms, and current challenges. This helps establish a therapeutic relationship and informs the treatment plan.
2. Preparation: The therapist helps the individual develop coping strategies and relaxation techniques to manage distress and ensure emotional stability during the therapy sessions. This phase establishes a foundation of safety and self-regulation.
3. Assessment: The therapist collaborates with the individual to identify specific traumatic memories or target issues to address during the EMDR therapy sessions. These targets typically involve distressing images, negative beliefs, and associated emotions and physical sensations.
4. Desensitization: During this phase, bilateral stimulation is used, typically through the individual’s eye movements following the therapist’s hand movements. Alternatives such as auditory or tactile stimulation may also be employed.
The individual focuses on the target memory or issue while simultaneously attending to the bilateral stimulation. This process helps reduce the emotional intensity associated with memory and facilitates the reprocessing of information.
5. Installation: In this phase, the therapist helps the individual strengthen positive and adaptive beliefs, thoughts, and emotions related to the target memory. The goal is to replace negative self-perceptions and distorted beliefs with healthier perspectives.
6. Body Scan and Closure: The therapist guides the individual through a body scan to identify any residual tension or sensations. The session is then concluded, ensuring emotional stability and providing a sense of closure.
7. Reevaluation: In subsequent sessions, the therapist reassesses the individual’s progress, addressing any remaining aspects of the target issue that require further processing.
Best EMDR therapists in Los Angeles
Following are some of the best EMDR therapists in Los Angeles that you can check out.
1. Trauma and Beyond Psychological Center
Located in Los Angeles, the Trauma and Beyond Psychological Center is a leading provider of EMDR and other specialized trauma programs for individuals experiencing trauma, mental health concerns, and co-existing disorders.
With a strong belief that psychological trauma underlies many emotional disturbances, the center offers a range of intensive outpatient, partial/day treatment, and individualized outpatient programs.
They utilize an eight-phase treatment approach inspired by Dr. Francine Shapiro, focusing on working with distressing memories and beliefs from the past, present, and future.
Additionally, the center incorporates the Attachment Focused style of EMDR (AF-EMDR) developed by Dr. Laurel Parnell, which emphasizes the development of internal resources and the integration of therapeutic techniques through both verbal and non-verbal interactions between the therapist and client.
2. Christine Ashe
Christine Ashe is a certified EMDR therapist and Somatic Experiencing therapist who is dedicated to helping individuals find healing and liberation from emotional burdens. With a compassionate approach and without judgment or shaming, she provides focused clarity to guide patients on their journey.
Christine interweaves two scientifically-based techniques, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and SE (Somatic Experiencing), in her therapy sessions. These approaches work synergistically to gently and swiftly uncover your true freedom and happiness.
Whether you’re an adult, adolescent, couple, or family, Christine is here to help you create a more connected, happier, and more meaningful life.
With her experienced hand and a commitment to your well-being, she shines a light to facilitate breakthroughs and empower you to reclaim your authentic self.
3. The Trauma Counseling Center of Los Angeles
The Trauma Counseling Center of Los Angeles is a renowned practice specializing in EMDR therapy for individuals seeking healing from traumatic experiences and effective management of anxiety.
Their team of dedicated therapists possesses advanced training and expertise in EMDR, making them well-equipped to address a wide range of trauma-related concerns.
By working with the present, the past, and the future, EMDR therapy at the Trauma Counseling Center of Los Angeles aims to facilitate comprehensive healing.
Clients can expect a tailored treatment plan designed to address their specific needs and goals, allowing them to reclaim their lives and move towards a brighter, more empowered future.
4. CéShaun Hankins
CéShaun Hankins is a dedicated EMDR therapist who specializes in providing relief and support to people of color and parents who have been impacted by distressing past or present events.
Through the use of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) and mindfulness techniques, CéShaun works diligently to help clients find relief from their emotional distress.
CéShaun and the client collaborate on integrating a future life vision that aligns with more helpful and positive beliefs.
While the healing process is not instantaneous, the combination of the body’s innate healing abilities and the therapeutic techniques employed can lead to a sense of empowerment and a newfound ability to manage memories effectively.
CéShaun offers individual EMDR sessions as well as half-day intensives, ensuring that clients have access to the level of care that best suits their needs.
With a commitment to creating a safe and inclusive space, CéShaun Hankins guides clients through the transformative process of EMDR therapy, allowing them to become unstuck and regain control over their lives.
5. Jennifer Oh
Jennifer Oh is a highly skilled and compassionate Licensed Clinical Social Worker based in Los Angeles. With a comprehensive approach to therapy, she seamlessly integrates two powerful modalities, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), to provide clients with the best possible treatment outcomes.
In the therapeutic journey with Jennifer, clients can expect a thorough assessment to understand their unique needs.
She prioritizes equipping clients with the tools and strategies necessary to navigate daily life and manage emotional distress effectively. This emphasis on skill-building ensures a solid foundation for the subsequent trauma processing work.
Jennifer recognizes the profound impact of trauma on individuals’ lives and understands the importance of addressing it directly. With EMDR, she guides clients through a structured process that allows for the reprocessing of traumatic experiences.
By targeting and transforming the impact of trauma, Jennifer empowers clients to break free from its hold and move toward healing and growth.
The Benefits of EMDR Therapy
EMDR therapy has many benefits including the following.
1. Effective Treatment for Trauma-Related Disorders
EMDR therapy has consistently demonstrated its effectiveness in treating trauma-related disorders, including PTSD.
It helps individuals process traumatic memories, reduce distressing symptoms, and develop adaptive coping mechanisms.
2. Anxiety Reduction
EMDR therapy has also proven beneficial in reducing symptoms of anxiety disorders. By targeting the underlying trauma or distressing memories contributing to anxiety, it can alleviate anxiety symptoms and improve overall well-being.
3. Accelerated Healing
EMDR therapy is known for its ability to produce significant changes in a relatively short period. It can help individuals achieve healing and resolution more rapidly than traditional talk therapies alone.
4. Long-Term Results
EMDR therapy aims to produce lasting results by addressing the root causes of distress. By reprocessing traumatic memories and resolving associated negative beliefs, individuals can experience sustained relief and improved functioning.
Choosing an EMDR Therapist
Keep the following things in mind while choosing an EMDR therapist
1. Training and Certification
When seeking an EMDR therapist, it’s essential to choose a professional who has received specialized training in EMDR therapy.
Look for therapists who are certified by recognized EMDR organizations, such as the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA), to ensure their competence in providing this specialized form of therapy.
2. Experience and Expertise
Consider the therapist’s experience and expertise in working with trauma-related disorders and anxiety. It may be beneficial to inquire about their previous success in using EMDR therapy to address similar concerns.
3. Compatibility and Trust
Establishing a strong therapeutic relationship is vital for the success of any therapy, including EMDR. Take the time to find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable, understood, and supported. Trust and rapport are crucial for creating a safe and healing environment.
EMDR therapists at BetterHelp
At BetterHelp, individuals seeking EMDR therapy can connect with licensed and experienced EMDR practitioners who are well-versed in providing virtual therapy sessions.
BetterHelp is an online platform that offers convenient access to a diverse network of mental health professionals, including EMDR therapists.
Through secure and confidential video sessions, individuals can engage in EMDR therapy from the comfort of their own homes or any private setting.
The platform’s user-friendly interface allows clients to explore profiles of EMDR practitioners, read reviews from previous clients, and choose a therapist who best aligns with their specific needs and preferences.
EMDR therapy offers a powerful and evidence-based approach to healing trauma and anxiety. By facilitating the reprocessing of distressing memories, EMDR therapy helps individuals alleviate symptoms, develop adaptive coping mechanisms, and achieve emotional healing.
If you’re seeking therapy for trauma-related disorders or anxiety, consider exploring EMDR therapy and finding a qualified and experienced EMDR therapist who can guide you on your journey toward recovery and improved well-being.
Remember, professional guidance and support are essential in addressing mental health concerns, and EMDR therapy can be a valuable tool in your therapeutic journey.
How long does EMDR therapy take to see results?
The duration of EMDR therapy and the time it takes to see results can vary depending on several factors, including the nature of the issue being addressed, the individual’s readiness for therapy, and their overall progress.
Some individuals may experience noticeable improvements in a few sessions, while others may require more time for deeper healing.
Can EMDR therapy be used for children and adolescents?
Yes, EMDR therapy can be used with children and adolescents. EMDR techniques can be adapted to suit the developmental needs of younger individuals.
However, it is crucial to find an EMDR therapist who specializes in working with children and adolescents and has the necessary training and experience to provide age-appropriate therapy.
Can EMDR therapy be combined with other forms of therapy or medication?
Yes, EMDR therapy can be combined with other forms of therapy or medication, depending on the individual’s needs and the recommendations of the treatment team.
EMDR therapy is often integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan that may include other therapeutic modalities or medication when appropriate.
How do I know if EMDR therapy is right for me?
Deciding if EMDR therapy is suitable for you depends on your specific needs and circumstances. It is recommended to consult with a qualified EMDR therapist to discuss your concerns, goals, and any questions you may have.