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EMDR

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy) is a form of psychotherapy therapy that was developed by Dr. Francis Shapiro. EMDR is a standardized treatment that follows an 8-stage protocol. EMDR is traditionally used to treat symptoms associated with PTSD. There is some supporting evidence that EMDR can also treat other mental health conditions, however more research is needed. 

The first time I ever heard of EMDR I giggled a little because it seemed so far fetched and weird. After learning more about the mechanisms and process as well as participating in EMDR myself,  it became clear to me why Dr. Shapiro decided to move forward with creating and researching EMD which was the predecessor of EMDR. EMDR puts the client in the driver's seat and utilizes the brain's natural ability to heal through a standardized 8 stage process. That original reaction of giggling has long since been replaced by a healthy respect for the power of the human body's ability to move towards wellness, and the power that is EMDR. 

 

I am an EMDR trained therapist however, I am not currently a certified EMDR Therapist. I am working towards my EMDR certification at this time. It is important to note that EMDR is best done with a therapist who is EMDR certified, trained, or is currently being trained. I received basic training though Scaling Up, LLC out of Colorado. I am currently working on advanced training through Scaling Up, LLC.

EMDR Demo Session 

Example of stages 3-7
**Contains: Strong emotions 

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Woman with Colorful Dress

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an intervention that puts the focus of treatment on acceptance of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It also focuses on values guided action which means actions that are based on the things that bring value and meaning to our lives. ACT also deeply focuses on living in the present moment and accepting situations that we have absolutely no control over for what they are. The way I often conceptualize ACT is the Serenity Prayer in action.

 

ACT is one of my favorite therapeutic modalities because its goals are not focused on decreasing symptoms but rather on how you can live your best life even with symptoms. Its also much less focused on what is psychologically unhealthy. You get to decide what feels right and what you want to accomplish with ACT.

Gay Family

Internal Family Systems 

IFS is an intervention that looks at consciousness as having a true self and many parts. Clients are looked as already being whole and the true self represents this wholeness. While in other treatment modalities multiplicity of personality is looked at as a pathological issue IFS looks at it as a normal function of human life. Even when parts are participating in disruptive or dysfunctional behavior, parts are looked at as having the best interest of the true self at heart. IFS works with these parts that have the most extreme behavior to allow the true self to come into power and lead the parts in harmony also known as self-leadership.

 

IFS is another treatment modality that I take great joy in learning and utilizing as it is the least blaming therapeutic treatment I have been able to identify. I think IFS has a great deal to offer clients who have struggled with difficult childhoods. It's also very helpful in working with the client's spirituality as the true self can also be conceptualized as the soul.  I am not a certified IFS therapist and only use IFS as conceptualization and context for treatment. My goal is to become fully certified once space opens in the IFS Institute certification program.  

Male Student

Dialectical Behavior Therapy 

Technically DBT is a manualized therapy that involves participation in skills training groups, individual therapy, and phone-coaching. The four core strategies for DBT are Destress tolerance: learning healthy ways to cope with distressing situations and feelings. Core Mindfulness: Learning how to live in the present moment and remembering the past is in the past and the future has not happened yet. Interpersonal Effectiveness: Learning skills that help you effectively communicate and participate in healthy relationships. Emotional Regulation: Helping learn skills that help you be more aware of your emotions and learning to keep them from running away with you. All in all, DBT in its purest form is a very intensive treatment that involves a great deal of time and commitment. 

 

I am not a Certified DBT therapist and as it sits right now. I do not qualify to seek certification because I am a pre-licensed clinician. I however have done a great deal of research on DBT and also ran a DBT skills training group for women at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, OR for 2 years. I find that skill-building techniques are incredibly useful in the treatment of mental health concerns. I would consider my use of DBT skills to be part of my therapeutic tools which is what makes me an eclectic therapist.  I only utilize DBT skills in my practice and do not provide other aspects of comprehensive DBT. I deeply appreciate that DBT looks at unhelpful coping behavior from a context of validation. Meaning that coping behaviors make sense even if that does not make them the best option for the health of the client.

Happy Senior Couple

Relational-Cultural Therapy

RTC is a therapy that posits that we all have a need and drive towards seeking out acceptance and relationships. Somewhere along the way, we become to believe that there are aspects of our selves that are not acceptable and we disconnect from those aspects to ensure we are accepted in our relationships. The focus of RCT is to help clients create relationships that are mutually satisfying for both parties. The focus is to bring our who person into our relationships and allow others to do the same. 

One of the reasons I love RTC is that it promotes acceptance of self through relational attunement that very much aligns with attachment theory. RTC is also supported by Polyvagal Theory The therapeutic relationship is also utilized as a tool to develop an understanding of healthy relationships.  

Image by Andre Hunter

Satir Transformational Systemic Therapy 

Virginia Satir's Transformational Systemic Therapy (STST) was originally designed to help families communicate better and allow for growth towards wellness. It posits that everyone has the ability to change and that everyone has the tools innately to do so.

STST is a beautiful modality that frames change in a way that allows the client and therapist to be their full human selves. This modality comes from a deeply connected view of humanity. As a therapist, if I had to pick a modality that fit me best this would be it. I believe with every part of my being, that no matter who you are you have the ability to change for the better within your own definition of better. It's all about hope, love, connection, and emotions. I utilize this modality in individual treatment.