Have you heard of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Repocressing (EMDR) therapy? Chances are that you have as it is becoming a more commonly used approach. It is therapy that has many applications; it is most commonly known for treating trauma. But it can also be used for depression, anxiety and even performance enhancement. Typically, EMDR therapy takes place once a week for 50 minutes, similar to other therapies. However, did you know that they can also be conducted in an intensive format? These are often known as EMDR intensives.

What are EMDR intensives?

EMDR intensives are an accelerated form of EMDR therapy, designed to deliver the therapeutic effects of EMDR over a condensed period. Traditional EMDR sessions occur once a week but EMDR intensives can span several hours over consecutive days. This format aims to immerse individuals deeply into the therapeutic process, facilitating rapid processing of traumatic memories and emotional healing.

The process within EMDR intensives closely mirrors the standard EMDR protocol, which includes phases of history taking, preparation, assessment, desensitization, installation, body scan, closure, and reevaluation. However, the intensive format allows for these phases to be navigated more fluidly and with greater continuity. This seamless progression can enhance the therapy’s effectiveness, as individuals remain deeply engaged in the therapeutic work without the start-stop nature of weekly sessions.

therapist and client

What are the benefits of EMDR intensives?

Accelerated Healing Process

One of the most significant advantages of EMDR intensives is the accelerated timeline for healing. People often feel deeper shifts and improvements in their mental health sooner than traditional therapy allows. This is particularly useful when those who are feeling stuck or overwhelmed by their symptoms.  

Enhanced Focus

In a typical 50 minute weekly session, a significant chunk of time gets used on catching up about the week gone by. EMDR intensives provide an opportunity for clients and therapists to work together with an enhanced level of focus and dedication. Without the week-long gaps between sessions, the therapeutic process remains uninterrupted. This allows for deeper exploration and deeper processing of traumatic memories and blocks that are keeping individuals stuck. Deeper processing can help to get to the root of the problem quicker.

Flexibility and Convenience

Furthermore, EMDR intensives can be of particular beneift for those with busy schedules. Condensing the therapy into a shorter time frame reduces any logistical challenges and makes it available for those who cannot commit to weekly sessions. Committing to a few days in a row may be more convenient for people than trying to make space available every week.  

Provides a Safe, Immersive Environment

EMDR intensives create a safe and immersive therapeutic environment. The intensive setting means that individuals can completely dedicate themselves to their healing process. Traditional weekly therapy sessions means individuals are still have the stresses of their daily life. This can leave individuals preoccupied and these daily stressors can take up a significant chunk of weekly therapy sessions. EMDR intensives allow individuals to step away from their daily stress and fully dedicate themselves to their healing process. Individuals can focus only on their healing. Such an environment fosters a deep sense of safety and support, crucial for addressing and processing traumatic experiences. 

Who can benefit from this type of approach?

EMDR intensives are suitable for a wide range of individuals, particularly those dealing with trauma, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. They are also beneficial for people who feel they are not making much progress in traditional therapy. 

To conclude, EMDR intensives are a powerful therapeutic option that can offer rapid and focused treatment for individuals who are struggling with their mental health. You can dedicate time to healing so you can get past your past. It provides you with an accelerated path to healing which means you can get faster relief from your symptoms. 

Wonder whether EMDR intensives could be for you?

Hi I'm Dr Hannah Bryan

I am a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and a Europe Accredited EMDR Facilitator and Consultant.

I have over 20 years experience in both the NHS and private practice.

Like you, I am only human and have had my hard times and I have got many blocking beliefs that at times hold me back from me realising my potential and being my best. 

I have used EMDR and coaching to help me work things through and be in a position now where I have a thriving and inspiring psychology practice. It’s always a journey and I’m always working on my blocks, my mental health and my well being.

As well as coaching, I also provide psychological therapy and support other therapists training in EMDR, I am a Facilitator on training courses and offer specific supervision packages and training to support this.