About EMDR

Several of our clinicians are trained and experienced using EMDR. Find out if EMDR can be a part of your healing journey.


How do I choose a therapist?

Choosing the right therapist can be a crucial step in your mental health journey. Here are some steps to get started, some supporting thoughts for determining what "fit" means for you," and some ideas for next steps:

  1. Determine what type of therapist you need: There are different types of therapists with different areas of expertise. You may need a therapist who specializes in a certain area such as depression, anxiety, trauma, or relationship issues. Progress Counseling offers a variety of therapists, some who are living a recovery-oriented lifestyle, diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds and experiences, and a wide range of styles.
  2. Consider your preferences: Think about what you want in a therapist. Do you want someone who is warm and nurturing or more analytical and direct? Do you prefer someone who is the same gender as you or the opposite gender? Do you want someone who practices a certain type of therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or psychoanalytic therapy? As a client-of-therapy myself, I have found that over time I have shifted in my preferences. Some of the things that mattered a lot when I was 18 years old in therapy have become less important. Age, ideological background, affect, politics, these are things that I've found "showing up" in therapy for me in very different ways as my own experience, relationships, and values have evolved and shifted.
  3. Ask for recommendations: Ask friends, family members, or your primary care physician for recommendations. Sometimes finding a therapist, trying them out, and having it not work can be good -- a "good therapist who isn't a good fit" will be willing to help you find someone who is a good fit for you.
  4. Check credentials: Look for a licensed therapist with a degree in psychology, social work, counseling, or another related field. You can check their credentials and licensing information on your state's licensing board website. One question you can ask your therapist is, "What do the letters after your name mean?" Similarly, try asking about their experience with substance use (if your concerns include drugs and alcohol), lived experience with cultural issues, "are you under supervision?", and what trainings do you have?
  5. Conduct a phone or in-person interview: Once you have a list of potential therapists, contact them to set up an initial consultation. This can be done over the phone or in-person. During the consultation, ask about their experience, their approach to therapy, and how they would address your specific concerns. All of our therapists will offer a consultation, in whatever form you're comfortable and available (video, phone, etc).
  6. Trust your gut: Ultimately, the most important factor in choosing a therapist is your own intuition. If you don't feel comfortable or connected with a therapist, don't be afraid to try someone else.

Remember that finding the right therapist can take time, but it's worth the effort to find someone who can help you achieve your mental health goals.

What is EMDR

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a type of therapy that has been shown to be effective in treating PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). EMDR aims to help individuals process and overcome traumatic experiences by addressing the way that the brain stores and processes memories.

During an EMDR session, the therapist guides the individual through a series of eye movements, sounds, or taps while they recall their traumatic experience. The eye movements or other stimuli are thought to help the individual process the traumatic memory by stimulating the brain's information processing system.

The therapist helps the individual to identify negative thoughts and emotions that are associated with the traumatic memory and to develop more positive and adaptive beliefs. The therapist also helps the individual to identify physical sensations that are associated with the traumatic memory and to learn techniques for managing those sensations.

Over time, EMDR can help individuals to process and integrate the traumatic memory into their lives in a more adaptive way. The goal is to help the individual to reduce symptoms of PTSD, such as flashbacks, nightmares, and hypervigilance, and to improve their overall quality of life.

While the exact mechanism of how EMDR works is not fully understood, research has shown that it can be an effective treatment for PTSD. EMDR may be used alone or in combination with other types of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or medication.

Visit EMDR International Association for more info
EMDR Consulting graciously shares a page of free resources for anyone interested in EMDR
(External Link) YouTube testimonials of clients who have benefited from EMDR

Daily practices to support your mental health

The 4-7-8 breathing technique can be used to relax when you're feeling stressed or anxious.

The exercise helps regulate the hormone cortisol, which controls your fight or flight response. This is important because too much cortisol being released in your body too often can have negative long-term health effects.

How do you practice 4-7-8?

  1. Find somewhere comfortable to sit. If you can, close your eyes.
  2. Breathe in through your nose to the count of four.
  3. Hold the breath to the count of seven.
  4. Exhale through your mouth to the count of eight.

How to do box breathing

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to master the box breathing method right away. 

  1. Breathe out slowly, releasing all the air from your lungs.
  2. Breathe in through your nose as you slowly count to four in your head. Be conscious of how the air fills your lungs and stomach.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of four.
  4. Exhale for another count of four.
  5. Hold your breath again for a count of four.
  6. Repeat for three to four rounds.
  1. Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent and your head on a pillow.
  2. You may place a pillow under your knees for support.
  3. Place one hand on your upper chest and one hand below your rib cage, allowing you to feel the movement of your diaphragm.
  4. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling your stomach pressing into your hand.
  5. Keep your other hand as still as possible.
  6. Exhale using pursed lips as you tighten your abdominal muscles, keeping your upper hand completely still.

As part of "mindfulness meditation," mindfulness breathing can be a helpful practice for managing anxiety and anxious thoughts. This involves focusing on your breathing and bringing your attention to the present without allowing your mind to drift to the past or future. Engaging in mindfulness breathing exercises serves the same purpose, which can help ease your anxiety.

Another technique to try, when engaged with mindfulness breathing, involves choosing a calming focus (as opposed to object-less attention). Sounds can be effective for a calming object of focus. Try a sound ("om"), positive word ("peace"), or phrase ("breathe in calm, breathe out tension") that you will repeat silently as you inhale or exhale. Let go and relax. If you notice that your mind has drifted, take a deep breath and gently return your attention to the present. Your mind will very likely drift. That's okay, that's what it does. Keep returning, kindly and gently, to the calming object of focus. 

Still have questions about therapy?

It's important to find a therapist you feel comfortable with. Contact us for more information.