EMDR Therapy San Francisco

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing

EMDR Therapy

If you’re suffering from trauma, you’re no stranger to triggers. They act like cracks in present-day reality that open to the unresolved trauma of your past. Triggers happen in a flash as automatic responses connected to the trauma— disruptive pieces of sensory, emotional, and somatic memories. One of the most effective methods for diffusing and eliminating triggers is EMDR, which will help to separate your emotional responses from deep-rooted and often unconscious reminders of distressing or disturbing experiences.

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, an evidence-based treatment for trauma, phobias, and other challenging feelings. In my practice, I use side-to-side eye movement for the bilateral stimulation required in EMDR. The length of treatment depends on how many traumas you’ve experienced and how much your nervous system is being impacted by those traumas. Some triggers and phobias are resolved in just a few sessions, while others, such as complex (multiple) trauma, take longer.

Addressing a Wide Range of Traumatic Experiences

Diverse Applications of EMDR Therapy

Some uses for EMDR include but are not limited to:

  • relational trauma
  • sexual trauma
  • physical assault or abuse
  • natural and man-made disasters
  • car accidents
  • medical trauma
  • phobias
  • panic attacks and anxiety
  • grief and loss
A 9.5-minute introduction to EMDR

Transforming Trauma into Healing

What to Expect in an EMDR Session

A metaphor I came up with to describe how EMDR works is to think of how it feels to have too many tabs and folders open on your computer. These represent the minefield of triggers related to the target. Trauma is stored in the body through emotional and procedural (sensations, patterns of movement…) implicit memories; these are the triggers. EMDR consolidates all of the tabs and folders into one, which tells your trauma story in a way that no longer causes you distress. It removes the minefields allowing for more ease in your day-to-day life.

Before starting EMDR treatment we’ll discuss your goals, then I’ll help you narrow them down to prioritize one. Next, we’ll look at what has stood in the way of your accomplishing this goal, often trauma, and distill that down to one sentence, which is called the target.

There will also be a corresponding negative belief, such as “I’m not safe,” “I have to be perfect and please everyone,” or “I am not worthy.” These negative beliefs are usually deeply rooted in the subconscious; intellectually, you may know they’re not true, yet your body and mind may still respond as though they are true. EMDR is one of the few methods that can help to nullify these deeply held beliefs.

I’ll ask how much discomfort or distress you’re feeling on a scale of 0 to 10 when you hear the target read aloud and what emotions and sensations inform you of that discomfort.

Now we’re ready to start the bilateral stimulation using sets of rapid eye movement or tapping if needed. I find EMDR to be just as effective online as it was when I met clients in person. I’ll check in with you after each set to see what came up for you and how you’re doing.

You can expect to feel a range of emotions and sensations throughout the treatment. At times it can feel like a roller coaster of twists and turns, highs and lows, as your nervous system and brain reorganize and integrate the distressing event or trauma at the root of the target.

You’ll also take note of and share your thoughts; in some cases, memories will surface. If you begin to dissociate, I’ll help you come back to a grounded state, and I’ll make sure you feel safe throughout.

As we approach the end of the session, I’ll check in again to see what number your discomfort or distress is at before placing the target and negative belief into a container. The container is a practice I’ll teach you and is often used in EMDR to help you end the session in a calm state and to minimize the chance of the target coming up when you’re not in session.

In most cases, the number steadily works its way down with each session until we get to 0 or neutral. Less commonly, it moves up and down a bit while still working its way down to 0 or neutral.

Once 0 or neutral is achieved, we install your newly realized positive belief. People tend to feel calm and relaxed like a weight has been lifted. Clients describe feeling as though the target is very far away, no longer able to trigger or upset them.

I continue to be amazed by the results I see in my clients through the use of EMDR.

Client Testimonials

Journeys of Transformation

Transformative Guidance


I can honestly say I have never seen a therapist before who has impacted my daily life so dramatically…I feel like you truly listened to me…You have helped me learn to love myself and not to be ashamed of what I feel. I feel like a different person today than I was when we first met.

Lifelong Benefits


Grateful Transformation


Thank you for all the help and guidance you’ve given me. As I mentioned before, you’re probably the first therapist who made a difference, so I’ll always be grateful for the time I was able to spend with you.

Begin Your Journey Today

Schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation with a simple call or email. Discover more about individual therapy and transparent fee structures on my dedicated pages.