Finding a therapist that’s right for you is part of the healing process, especially for treating trauma with EMDR. Not many therapists are qualified at EMDR, and not all have the same approach. That said, there are ways you can hunt down a good EMDR therapist near you.
Before we discuss some tips to look for such a therapist, let’s take a moment to talk about EMDR first. It’s important for you to have some basic understanding of EMDR, as that will help you narrow down your choices.
What is EMDR?
EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a psychotherapy treatment for people who have suffered a life-changing event, especially a trauma. It uses certain activities and steps to overcome the emotional burden of the trauma, in order to help the person take back control and get rid of any negative influences of the event on their self-confidence or view of the world.
A review of several studies in Frontiers in Psychology reports that EMDR therapy can prove beneficial for treating patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It’s particularly beneficial for single-trauma victims.
In scientific terms, it basically involves processing and assessing the traumatic memories of the particular traumatic event while simultaneously focusing on external stimuli (often eye movement). This process of reliving the memory and pushing focus on something else at the same time allows you to form new associations with the traumatic event, one that doesn’t impact you negatively.
The therapy comprises eight stages in total, carried over several sessions with the therapist. Some patients may show improvement in the third or fourth session only. It may be delivered once or twice a week for a total of 8-12 sessions.
How to Find The Best EMDR Therapist Near You?
First of all, pat yourself on the back that you want to work on your trauma and are seeking help in the form of EMDR therapy. That’s a big step, and you’re off to a good start. Now, seeking an EMDR therapist near you may not be as easy as you would ideally want it to be.
Unlike normal therapy, with EMDR, you have very specific goals, and it’s a set therapy. That all said, for anyone dealing with trauma, it’s equally important to be comfortable with their therapist. It’s not just about credentials or years of experience; you, as a patient, should be able to feel comfortable talking about anything with your therapist.
Don’t worry, though, as the following tips will help you find the best fit for an EMDR therapist for yourself.
The first thing to do is to search ‘EMDR therapist near me’ online, which should give you some results immediately. You might find some therapists in your town or city that may or may not specialize in EMDR.
While searching online is a good start, you don’t just want to contact or book an appointment with the first result that pops up. Here are some tips for searching for an EMDR therapist online:
- Visit their website to check for their credentials and affiliations.
- Check if they mention EMDR (if they don’t, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they cannot provide it).
- See if they have any testimonials or reviews from other patients online.
- Look for their availability and whether that aligns with your availability (some therapists might be booked for weeks or months).
EMDR International Association
If you want someone who has trained in EMDR, searching the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) website is a good idea. This is the official organization for EMDR-trained therapists from around the world.
You can find an accredited therapist near you by entering your location.
If you found a therapist online who claims to be trained in EMDR, you can use this website to confirm their membership and ensure that they are indeed trained in this type of psychotherapy.
Keep in mind that EMDR Certification is optional, so if a therapist doesn’t have one, you can still work with them.
Do a Phone Consultation
You might not get everything about the therapist from a quick phone consultation, but it’s still important to get a sense of their personality and strategy towards EMDR. They should be willing to answer some questions about EMDR or therapy, in general.
You should ask the following questions:
- What is EMDR?
- How do your approach EMDR?
- Do you have EMDR training?
- When did you get trained?
- How many sessions will I need?
The answer to these questions should help you decide whether the therapist in question is a good fit for you. A professional, courteous therapist would concisely explain what EMDR is and what you should expect. Their answer should help you guage their training on the subject even if you yourself are no expert.
Ask a Healthcare Professional
If you’re someone who doesn’t trust people easily or you’re not comfortable talking about your trauma with someone you don’t know at all, it might help going with someone recommended by someone you trust. In such a case, you might want to ask your regular healthcare provider for a recommendation.
You can also ask around friends and family for a recommendation, specifically for a therapist that may be trained in EMDR. Now, not many people would know about it, so you can simply ask for a therapist and then contact them to ask about EMDR.
Don’t Wait Too Long For a Response
If you contacted a therapist you found online or someone recommended, two days is ample time to get a response. If a therapist takes longer than that, move on and contact another. While they may be booked or on vacation, you need to start your therapy and should look otherwise.
Another thing to note is that some therapists can be heavily booked, in which case, they might ask you to wait. This can be seen as a sign that they are good at their job, but if you feel like you can’t wait any longer and need to go to therapy, you shouldn’t wait for them to book you. There are many alternatives out there.
Try Virtual EMDR
If you don’t find a therapist near you that specializes in EMDR, or perhaps you’re not ready yet to go to therapy to work on your trauma, there is an alternative. You can give virtual EMDR a try!
Our virtual EMDR tool has been designed to self-administer EMDR therapy in the comfort of your home. Based on the same principles and phases as therapist-applied EMDR, the tool helps you process your emotions regarding the trauma you went through. It ultimately normalizes it, so you can go about living a healthy life once again.
Using virtual EMDR can come in handy for people who may live in remote areas and don’t have access to good therapists or those with an EMDR certification. It can also help make the experience more comfortable for individuals who may prefer to work independently without the intervention of another person.
EMDR has been proven to work for many individuals to help them deal with their trauma. What typically takes years to resolve can be achieved within weeks with the help of the tools in EMDR. Now, you can even benefit from it sitting at home without needing to see a therapist physically.
But if you’re more comfortable with a professional and are looking for one near you, make sure to use the tips here to find someone you click with.