Frequently Asked Questions
What Is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a modern, powerful, and amazingly effective form of trauma therapy that utilizes the human mind's own natural, built-in abilities to desensitize an individual to distressing memories and events. With more than 30 years of continual refinement, clinical research, and real-world application behind the science of EMDR, it has rapidly become the face of modern trauma therapy, worldwide.
The American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Defense, the World Health Organization among many other national and international organizations recognize EMDR therapy as an effective treatment.
How Would EMDR Therapy Be Useful To Me?
In practice, EMDR is a comprehensive therapy can be utilized across an incredibly wide spectrum of issues; Everything from simple, mild, recently-acquired anxieties to long-standing and deeply traumatic childhood experiences can be potentially resolved within relatively short periods of time, particularly when compared to other traditional therapy models. The list of specific uses for EMDR is rather long. To learn more about the science behind EMDR, its protocol-based practice, and benefits over other traditional forms of trauma therapy, click here.
Isn't EMDR The Same Thing As Hypnotherapy / CBT?
No. While cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and hypnotherapy can be effective in the treatment of trauma, the approaches, techniques, and protocols behind EMDR therapy are very different. For example, EMDR differs from hypnotherapy in that during an EMDR session, you are fully awake and aware of your surroundings, and participate actively in your treatment, with guidance provided from the therapist at all times. EMDR also differs from cognitive-behavioral therapy in that EMDR does not involve long spans of calendar time spent gradually re-framing beliefs and thought processes, in order to change an individual's behavior. EMDR also tends to yield more rapid results, when compared to other therapies.
Where other therapeutic approaches seek to externally change a person's reaction a traumatic event, EMDR leverages the brain's own existing internal, biological mechanisms for handling traumatic memories. In a sense, where cognitive-behavioral therapy and hypnotherapy can be thought of as external and synthetic in their approaches, EMDR can be thought of as internal, and natural, in its approach.
How Long Are EMDR Sessions, Typically?
Session times generally vary from person to person, according to their particular needs. Typically, most individuals prefer a 50 minute session, while others prefer 90 minute sessions. Depending upon the client's level of motivation or scheduling needs, a large amount of EMDR therapy can be effectively compressed into a shorter period of time. For these individuals, I often recommend the EMDR Intensives program that I offer. With this mode of delivery, several weeks or months of therapy can be delivered in a matter of several hours or days.
I'm Embarrassed / Ashamed About My Problem. Do I Have To Share All The Details Of It?
Not at all. Generally speaking, in EMDR therapy, it's not necessary to know all the underlying details of a traumatic event, only to identify the memory associated with the event. While it's okay to share the details of your trauma with your therapist at any time if you're comfortable doing so, in EMDR, the details of the trauma itself are largely unimportant from treatment perspective.
It's also very normal to feel ashamed or embarrassed about things which have happened in your past. Thankfully, therapists, in general, are already well-acquainted with a wide variety of problems and burdens that people often carry. You can have confidence in knowing that for whatever issues or problems you may have, I have probably seen or dealt with it (or something very similar to it) before. I also have the skills to fit my approach specifically to your individual needs, rather than taking a "cookie-cutter approach" to your treatment.
Professionally, therapists abide by strict codes of conduct and professional ethics that are both well-established, and tied directly to their licensure. This includes a very strict focus on protecting patient confidentiality, and doing all we can to serve the health, emotional well-being, and dignity of our clients. I have no desire to judge my clients; Only a desire to help them address their issues, and provide a caring, supportive framework that helps them become be the best person they can be.
I Have Never Seen A Therapist Before, Let Alone An EMDR Therapist. What's It Like?
During your visit, you will probably spend your first few minutes in the waiting area, which will be similar to what you might find in a doctor's office, but far more comfortable and welcoming. When it's time for your session, your therapist will invite you to have a seat in a room similar in layout to a living room, with a sofa, a desk, a few tables, and chairs. There, you'll be invited to make yourself comfortable. The idea behind this is to allow you to be as relaxed as possible during your visit. Your therapist will be seated nearby, and will talk to you calmly about the issues you are facing. This discussion happens at the rate you are comfortable with, and is never rushed for time.
During an EMDR session, your therapist may ask you to look at an item nearby called a "light bar". A light bar is a device that produces a dot of light that oscillates back and forth, from left to right, and back. The rate at which this dot of light moves is controlled by the EMDR therapist. Additionally, you may be asked to hold a set of small handheld devices in each hand, called "tappers". These devices are synchronized with the light, and vibrate lightly in an alternating left-right fashion. They feel similar to how a cell phone feels when it vibrates. Alternatively, you may also be asked to wear a set of headphones, which gently produce a similarly alternating left-right sound. For most people, however, the light bar and the tappers, alone, are usually sufficient.
Wow.. This Seems Pretty Unusual! What Are These Devices Actually Doing?
While it may seem a little unusual at first, their usage and purpose will become very clear after a few moments. The light bar, the headphones, and the tappers are designed to bi-laterally stimulate your body's nervous system. The alternating left-right pattern is designed to gently activate the parts of your brain and nervous system responsible for processing memory during sleep, similar to how rapid eye movements (REM) spontaneously occur in people during deep sleep. However, rather than sleeping, you will remain fully awake, and will be asked a series of questions by your therapist. The therapist then gradually identifies the specific traumatic memory in need of reprocessing. This generally lasts for a few minutes at a time, with a short break in between, to allow the brain time to do its work. Amazingly, most people who undergo EMDR therapy are able to successfully observe a rapid reduction in their anxiety within a few sessions of this technique. At each step, the therapist ensures that the client is comfortable, awake, aware, at ease, and a willing participant in their progress. As needed, this process is repeated by the therapist and client until the desired results are achieved.
What Are Your Rates?
To allow my clients the best possible therapeutic benefit, I offer both 50 and 90 minute sessions. Individual 50 minute sessions are $180. Individual 90 minute sessions are $270. For clients who wish to expedite their treatment due to scheduling needs, enhanced privacy needs, or simply personal preference, I also offer an EMDR Intensives program. Pricing varies according to the number of days needed, and treatment-specific options chosen. Base price per day for an EMDR Therapy Intensive is $1500.
Do You Take Insurance?
To ensure the greatest possible outcome for my clients, I do not accept insurance. The reason for this is because I believe the client and therapist should determine the course of treatment, not the insurance company. Unfortunately, insurance companies often seek to cut corners, many of which have legitimate therapeutic benefit to clients. However, I can provide you with a "super bill" to submit to your insurance company, as needed.
Do You Have A Sliding Scale?
Depending upon personal circumstances and needs, I have a limited number of reduced session spots. These spots fill up quickly, and are limited to eight sessions in duration. Priority is given to first-responders, medical personnel, current or former military personnel, individuals in public service, victims of human trafficking, or individuals who have otherwise suffered acute and recent tragedies, such as mass shootings or natural disasters. For individuals who qualify, I will provide referrals as we get close to the eighth session.
Do You Offer Virtual / On-Line Sessions?
Yes. For those who prefer to receive therapy from home, or simply prefer an additional layer of privacy, I offer sessions via remotEMDR, a secure videoconferencing solution specifically tailor-made for clients and therapists for online EMDR therapy. Prior to each session, you will be sent a link via text or email. As my client, you are free to use either a desktop or mobile device to connect, at which point we will see and hear each other. In order to make the session as realistic as possible, I utilize a high-speed broadband internet connection, a very large 42" flat panel display, and high-definition webcam that allows me to see and interact with you in the most natural way possible. For best results, you'll want to use the fastest and most stable internet connection available to you. A slow or poor quality internet connection may work, but will not allow you to view the session in high-definition video and sound.
I'm Concerned About My Privacy. Is Your Office Location Secure And Private?
Yes. For those with an added need for privacy, our offices are located in a locked building with both a curbside front entrance, and an unmarked, single-lane, vehicle-accessible rear entrance. Additionally, white noise machines are placed throughout our offices to for an added layer of privacy, regardless of whether a session is conducted in-person, or online/virtually. The location of our offices was chosen very specifically with security and privacy in mind.
Are Your Virtual / Online Video Teleconferencing Sessions Also Secure And Private?
Yes. Every virtual session is HIPAA-compliant for the sake of your privacy, and is digitally encrypted end-to-end for maximum security. The links I send to my clients prior to each session are for a meeting room specific to them, which no other client has access to. My office is also located in a secured building, where ambient white-noise machines are used to prevent accidental or intentional eavesdropping, even during videoconferencing sessions.
What Happens If There's A Power Outage During My Virtual / On-Line EMDR Session?
A good question! Our computer workstations, the network, and the Internet connection they each rely upon are all power-redundant, and connected to dedicated battery backup units. In the event of a power outage in our Columbia offices, the battery backup units allow enough time for any EMDR sessions that might be in progress to be concluded seamlessly.
I Have Sensory Issues. Can You Accommodate Me?
Absolutely. The lighting in each of our offices is selectable, and can be made very brightly lit, or dimly lit by request. As a rule, we do not use any perfumes, strong scents, essential oils, or aromatherapies within our offices. The level of ambient sound cancelling in our offices can also be adjusted to match your particular level of comfort. Simply let us know what your needs are in advance, and we'll be happy to accommodate them.
Is It True You Have An Emotional Support Animal On Staff?
Yes, we do! His name is Biscuit, and he's currently in training to be a full-time therapy dog. If you like, you may request him to be present during your session, at no additional charge.
Where Are You Located?
The Columbia Center for EMDR Therapy is located at the red brick building at 710 N. Main St., Suite 7A, in beautiful historic downtown Columbia, Tennessee, just off the courthouse square. Our front entrance is located up the stairs on the left.
What Is Adjunct Therapy?
Adjunct Therapy is the practice of getting additional specialized therapy from a different therapist while still seeing your existing therapist. I'm happy to work with you, and your existing therapist if additional support is needed. For more information, please visit my Adjunct Therapy Services page.
Are You Available For Professional Consults?
Whether you're a professional therapist interested in receiving consultation on an as-needed basis, or you're interested in receiving consultation towards EMDR certification, I am pleased to provide both. For more information, please visit my Consultation Services page.