Anna Billings, LMFT
             counseling  •  life coaching  •  soulwork 
                            couples, individuals, families, and organizations

Marin Office

610 D Street suite A

San Rafael, CA 94901

East Bay Office

125 W Richmond Ave

Point Richmond, CA



What is EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, a highly effective therapeutic method for healing many types of psychological distress including past or recent trauma; self esteem issues; creativity blocks; fears; complex unresolved grief; and performance anxiety.  It is also used to enhance performance; build self-confidence; bring forth your strengths; and realize your life goals.  

The method was developed in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro who discovered that eye movements when used with a particular protocol, can reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts and distress while bringing forth one’s inner strengths and restoring a positive outlook. 

How Does EMDR Work?

Although an exact neurobiological explanation for how EMDR works is not yet known, we do know that when a person experiences trauma or is highly upset, their brain’s capacity to process information is affected.   Our brains can process and integrate most of our experiences without leaving a lasting negative effect, but when an experience is very intense, overwhelming, or threatening, that process can get stuck.  The experience gets lodged and frozen in our memory along with negative interpretations or beliefs. 

EMDR works to unlock the frozen memories and reengage the brain’s natural ability to process the memory, bringing new self-empowering insights, perspectives, and healing. 

What Happens During an EMDR Session?

First we will discuss the history and other particulars of the issue or problem you would like to focus on (or “target”) for treatment.  We will work together to identify a central belief or “negative cognition” you would like to release and the outcome or “positive cognition” you desire.  

We then use one or more of the established methods of bilateral stimulation:  eye movement, sound, and/or tactile.  During the process, you simply notice what comes to mind without trying to control the content.   We will do several sets of the process, giving you a chance to report your experience with each set. 

Your own unique ability to process information is engaged.   You are in charge of the speed and duration of the process and can ask to pause at any time.  While you might experience intense emotion during the processing, the intensity usually subsides as your natural ability to heal takes hold, bringing new, self-empowering insights and perspectives along with inner peace.  

How Long Does EMDR Take?

The number of sessions required depends upon the nature of the issue, its history, duration, life circumstances, and whether it is related to an isolated incident or more extensive trauma.  Some issues can be resolved within a few sessions.  Others may take longer although most people experience some relief and benefits after each session.   We will continue to assess progress throughout treatment. 

EMDR can be used as a supplementary treatment on occasion within standard ongoing therapy; or it can be used as the primary method.  It can also be used as an adjunct to your ongoing therapy with another therapist.  With your permission, I will consult with your therapist to assure continuity and consistency of treatment.  Adjunct sessions are usually completed within two to four sessions. 

For further information or to schedule an initial free phone consultation,

please contact me. 


Copyright © 2009 Anna Billings                                                                                                                        Return to HOME page

Grief/Loss  •  Procrastination  •  EMDR  •  Speaking/Training  •  CISD  •  Job Stress  •  Self Esteem  •  ACOA