Intensive EMDR Therapy FAQs

by Dana Terrell, LCSW, EAC (click on link to find Dana’s Profile Page)

NOTE:  Thank you to Sandra Paulsen, PhD and Katie O’Shea, MFT for their outstanding EMDR Therapy Early Trauma Protocol and their example in offering Intensive Therapy programs with professional integrity and great care.

FAQ’s — “Frequently Asked Questions”

How can I know if Intensive EMDR Therapy based on Bowen Theory and EMDR Therapy is for me?

How would I know if Intensive EMDR Therapy using the Early Trauma Protocol would be a better choice for my Intensive Work?

1.  You are welcome to schedule a phone session with Dana at her usual rate to discuss whether either of these approaches to EMDR Therapy is appropriate for you.  If you wish, Dana can start her assessment process during this session if time allows.  Note:  If your questions are basic, ten minute phone consultations are always done without charge.

How much time does Intensive EMDR Therapy take — how much does it cost?

2.  Most people will need 3 or 4 days, sometimes more.  If your spending plan permits only one or two days, we may not accomplish as much as you would like, but I believe you will find the progress valuable nonetheless.

3.  Because addressing patterns of anxiety-binding mechanisms is deep work, we do not want to rush it.  We will focus on the most relevant anxiety-binding mechanisms for you.  Each one takes an average of 15 hours of work or 2 full days in intensive iBE Therapy.  As we address a default pattern it is like talking to a fish about water.  The water is so omnipresent, that the fish doesn’t comprehend a world of “not-water.”  Our anxiety-binding mechanisms are our water.  So, we may live with distance, conflict, triangling, or overfunctioning/underfunctioning as if the patterns are our water.  With human beings we are much more multi-faceted than fish, so adapting to our “not-water” will feel odd at first. But with the depth of EMDR added to Bowen, you may find yourself making changes spontaneously that used to take 1-2 years of work for myself or other clients working Bowen theory alone.

4.  We will start with thorough resourcing about the anxiety-binding mechanism that has caused you the most trauma, OR, the anxiety-binding mechanism you use as an addiction or a compulsion.  This will help you desensitize your response to anxiety, to patterns, and also build up your options for the maturity-building principles of calm understanding, connection, direct personal relationships, and equal balanced relationships.

5.  Because current issues and other challenges can distract from the goals you are committed to, we will determine if you can contain them to focus on our agreed goals, or we need to focus on a current crisis.  If possible, please do such work with your current therapist so you can make the most progress on the unique goals we address together.

6.  If you have had a traumatic experience with a therapist in the past and find it difficult to trust, we will need to start with processing that trauma.  Thus, we will be wise to allow added time, often at least an hour for each instance.  If there are more than 3 (which I sure hope there aren’t however, life is sometimes that difficult), we would need to work on the first instance, the worst, and the last.

7.  Dana’s fees for her Intensive EMDR Therapy services are $150 for a 45 minute session.  Her regular fee ($160 for a 50 minute session) applies to sessions done individually.  We will flexibly allow for breaks by mutual agreement, to keep the day balanced and allow for rest.

8.  You will prepay for the intensive iBE Therapy on the following schedule:

  • Deposit is due at the time of scheduling to hold the time for you, based on the number of days you are requesting for your iBE Therapy with Dana.
  • Pre-payment is due 2 weeks before the Intensive iBE Therapy, assuming at a minimum that you will be responsible for $900 a day (six 45 minute “hours” per day) unless you and Dana both feel up for additional time.

Days       Deposit       Pre-Payment

1*             $200              $700

2              $400              $1400

3              $600              $2100

4              $800              $2800

5             $1000             $3500

* This assumes one day is six hours of therapy.  For longer days, the fee is based on the actual number of 45 min. “hours.”

9.  At the end of the Intensive iBE Therapy, you will owe for any remainder over and above the $900 per day already pre-paid.  Generally people work from six to nine “hours” so you may owe up to a total of $1350 for a really full day.

10.  EXAMPLE of a 2 Day Intensive:  So, although you prepaid for $900 for each of the the two days ($1800), if we worked 8 “hours” the first day and 9 “hours” the 2nd day, you’d owe an additional $850 on the last day.  If you have a spending limit, be sure Dana knows so we are both saving and using an appropriate amount of time for your financial health as well as your emotional health.

How Does Payment Work?

11.  Your Deposit is due at the time of scheduling to hold the appointment times for you.  Prepayment for the committed appointments are due two weeks before the first date.  Any added time you requested by extending our appointment times is paid for daily, when incurred.

Since doing Intensive Therapy in a concentrated schedule is a significant financial commitment, many are not prepared to meet that commitment unless they turn to their savings or until they save the fees for a period of time before they schedule their Intensive Therapy.  Be sure you are prepared for the expense before you schedule.  Please see points 9 and 10 above.  Since some people feel the power of their healing momentum and want to continue longer than planned, you may want to save more funds to be prepared for this possibility.

12.   Payment Methods:  We prefer to receive payment via check or money order.  If deposits or prepayments are not received by the due dates, your appointment will be cancelled and offered to those on wait lists to begin their treatment.


Pre-Intensive Check List for iBE (Integrated Bowen and EMDR) Therapy

Ο   It is recommended to read the summary handout called “Bowen Theory Made Ridiculously Simple.”  It represents my 35 years of experience with Bowen Theory and 17 years experience with EMDR Therapy distilled onto one sheet of paper (two sides).  As you read, please try to identify the Anxiety-Binding Mechanisms that were practiced in the family you grew up in.  Also, which do you lean on yourself when you are stressed?

Important Point:  This handout makes Bowen Theory simple to understand.  It is not generally simple to practice, but I find that when integrated with EMDR Therapy, people begin to make healthy changes in their relationships spontaneously and rapidly.  With Bowen Theory alone, many of these changes would have take one to two years.  It has amazed me and convinced me of the value of teaching this to other EMDR therapists so many more people can be significantly helped.

Ο   Arrange your dates with Dana’s assistant, Karen Walker at (619) 283-5665.  Mail in your deposit in check or money order to guarantee your reserved treatment date(s).

Ο   Register by completing the registration forms.  You’ll also find HIPAA forms for your information, which health care providers are required by law to provide for you.

Ο   Many request to have the initial intake appointment/history in person or by phone in advance of the Intensive Therapy.  Since this generally takes at least 80 minutes, it is best to not drain time from healing for the necessary background and Dana’s fullest initial understanding of you and your circumstances, strengths and weaknesses.  We both need to be in agreement that the Intensive approach will serve you well at this time in your life.  If Dana believes it will not serve you right now, she will give suggestions on how to prepare for the work.  Sometimes the assessment/history time can be shortened if you provide a written history to include the following information, which will be assisted by your reading of “Bowen Theory Made Ridiculously Simple:”

Birthplace, date, location(s) in which you grew up, schooling (one paragraph summary of your experience and accomplishments), anxiety-binding mechanisms practiced by mother, father, siblings, grandparents, and yourself.  Key traumas experienced by the same persons (to your knowledge), medical and psychological treatment history, substance or behavioral addiction history, work history (1-3 brief paragraphs is sufficient).   Despite taking the time to write this kind of summary of your life and experience, Dana may still need to ask questions to help her better understand you and your circumstances.

Ο   If you live near Dana’s office in North Park, San Diego, you may wish to have one or two sessions ahead of time so that you have have greater resourcing and strengthening in advance.  For Early Trauma work, this will allow you to be strengthened and ready for clearing early traumatic experience if that is determined to be relevant for you.  Or, if you are doing iBE work, it will allow you to focus on the pervasiveness of the anxiety-binding mechanisms.  This can take time, and it is hard to predict the duration of time.  I often use the analogy:  If you were to talk to a fish in the ocean about water (and the fish could talk!) the fish would likely say, “Water, what’s that?”  All the fish knows is water.  The concept of “not water” is completely foreign.  We can be the same with a pattern such as distance, or any other anxiety-binding mechanism.   It is like visiting a foreign country with a strange language.  As you continue to “hang out” there, you begin to understand the people, the language, and how you can fit in to it.

Ο   The preparation steps for Early Trauma work include 1) container imagery to help with any mental overwhelm, 2) safe state or other resources to help stabilize your body, and 3) emotional circuit clearing to help the emotions become useful resources for life-protection, or life-enhancement.

Ο   The preparation steps for iBE work include 1) enhancing the resource of your favorite teacher from grade school or middle school, 2) learning principles of Bowen Theory, 3) creating resources from your life who can practice Bowen Theory, and 4) creating your Positive Treatment Goal of an enhanced, valuable, stronger Support System.

Ο   For some people, additional assessment, resourcing and strengthening may be necessary before lauching into intensive early trauma work.  It seems that a high percentage can benefit from the iBE intensive, and build strengths steadily.  That may be a good first step for some people.

Ο   Before finalizing air travel, if you are flying in from far away, be sure to confirm that you are in fact on our schedule when you think you are.  Please verify with Karen Walker.

Ο   As described above, both a deposit to save the dates and prepayment due two weeks before the dates are required.  Cancellation policies apply as described below:

Ο   For ideas about lodging go to this  for a list of lodging locations within 15 minutes drive

Google “Mission Valley motel/hotel” or use the Visitor’s Bureau.

Search downtown locations  by using the link below to the Visitor’s Bureau.

Or, you may want to explore beach (more than 15 min. drive) locations using the Visitor’s Bureau.

Ο   For ideas about things to do to enjoy the beauty or cultural vitality of San Diego, go to  San Diego Visitor’s Bureau.  San Diego is situated on a glorious coastline adjacent to Tijuana (not the safest place to explore without a knowledgable guide), one hour from mountains, and about two hours from desert.  There are numerous lovely parks to hike and explore, including Balboa Park, which is just over a mile from Dana’s North Park home office.

Ο   Regarding transportation, you have a choice of rental car or taxi.  Most people will find car rental is more cost effective.