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Unlocking Transformation: Extended EMDR Sessions vs. EMDR Intensive Retreats

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Choosing the Right EMDR Therapy Approach for Your Transformative Healing Journey

When it comes to EMDR therapy, two distinct approaches have gained prominence: extended EMDR sessions and EMDR intensive retreats. 

Both hold the promise of transformative healing, but understanding the differences, identifying suitable candidates, and emphasizing stability are crucial considerations. 

I will delve into the nuances of each approach, helping you make an informed decision tailored to your unique therapeutic needs.

Exploring Extended EMDR Sessions: Gradual Progress and Steady Support

Duration and Frequency: Extended EMDR sessions typically unfold over 90 minute - 3 hour sessions, allowing individuals to gradually process and integrate their traumatic experiences.Frequency of the extended sessions can be and should be determined by the target memories/images/cognitions that will be processed. The extended timeframe provides a steady pace, allowing you to navigate your healing journey with the support of a therapist over an extended period.

Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Extended EMDR Sessions

Extended EMDR sessions are well-suited for individuals seeking a steady and consistent therapeutic process who may not be ready for weekend retreats, all day retreats lasting 6-10 hours due to work, school, familial resonnsibilities but more importantly, they may not be ready due to trauma processing being a brand new journey. This approach is beneficial for those with a history of trauma who prefer a more gradual and less intensive approach to emotional processing and find 60 minute sessions "too short".


  • Gradual, steady progress
  • Integration of insights between sessions
  • Ongoing therapist support and guidance


  • Prolonged treatment duration
  • Potential for slower breakthroughs

Embracing EMDR Intensive Retreats: Accelerated Healing in a Condensed Format

Duration and Intensity: EMDR intensive retreats compress the therapeutic process into a condensed timeframe, often spanning several consecutive days. This immersive approach allows for deep exploration and intensive processing, offering an accelerated path to healing.

Suitable Candidates: EMDR intensive retreats are ideal for individuals who thrive in immersive environments and are ready for a concentrated, focused experience. Candidates often include those seeking rapid transformation or facing time constraints.


  • Rapid breakthroughs and insights
  • Immersive and concentrated processing
  • Efficient use of time for intensive healing


  • Emotional intensity may be overwhelming
  • Potential for heightened emotional reactions during the retreat

The Crucial Role of Stability in EMDR Therapy

Stability is a crucial factor in choosing the right EMDR approach. This can be assessed only during a comprehensive intake you will have with me to see if extended sessions are a good fit for where you are and what may be best targets to choose and setting realistic goals. Extended sessions provide a stable and consistent environment, while intensive retreats require individuals to be emotionally prepared for an accelerated pace; so if you have done EMDR extended sessions and want "more", retreats may be your best bet. 

I play a pivotal role in assessing your stability and recommending the most suitable approach based on their current emotional state.

Selecting EMDR Targets: A Collaborative Process for Transformative Healing

Careful consideration of target selection is key in both extended EMDR sessions and intensive retreats. I work collaboratively with clients to identify specific targets, ensuring that the chosen approach aligns and realistic with the individual's therapeutic goals.

Both extended EMDR sessions and EMDR intensive retreats offer unique benefits and considerations. The choice between the two depends on the individual's preferences, emotional readiness, and desired pace of healing. A thorough assessment by a qualified therapist such as myself, ensures that the selected approach aligns seamlessly with the client's unique therapeutic needs, fostering a transformative and empowering healing journey.

* Explore in-person therapy in Madison and convenient telehealth services across Connecticut for personalized and accessible mental health support *