Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is an effective intervention for those who have anxiety and those who have experienced trauma. Learn more about how it works.

April 2024

Navigating Trauma: A Guide to Short-Term EMDR Therapy

2024-04-17T23:11:57+00:00April 17th, 2024|emdr, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|

In this era of telehealth, finding the right therapeutic approach that resonates with clients can be a journey in itself. As a therapist, I’ve navigated this and decided on a specialized path that can help many: short-term Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

Transitioning to an EMDR-focused model, I’ve woven in techniques like Internal Family Systems work, creating a toolbox of modalities tailored for trauma processing. 

Many individuals find themselves grappling with persistent feelings of being stuck, yearning to break free from the binds of their past traumas. Whether they’re already engaged in talk therapy or not, the desire to move forward swiftly remains palpable. Enter adjunctive or short-term EMDR therapy – a modality that offers hope for those seeking rapid yet effective intervention.

But what does this entail exactly? Simply put, adjunctive EMDR therapy offers a targeted approach for individuals who may already be working with another therapist but seek additional support in addressing specific unresolved issues. Conversely, short-term EMDR therapy caters to those who desire focused trauma resolution but do not currently have a therapist.

My approach may sound stringent at first glance. Contracting with clients for a defined timeframe for trauma work and not extending beyond that might seem abrupt. However, it is instead a highly concentrated intervention aimed at achieving specific goals. In traditional therapy, sessions often revolve around discussing current events and situations – important, yes, but not always conducive to resolving deep-seated trauma.

In my practice, we dive headfirst into trauma processing by the second session. For this to work clients must possess a robust support system and have self-calming techniques to navigate any potential overwhelm during trauma processing.

To ensure readiness, I offer a complimentary 30-minute phone or Zoom meeting to assess whether short-term EMDR therapy is a suitable intervention. From there, we embark on a 90-minute initial session, where I conduct a thorough assessment and begin equipping clients with the tools to soothe themselves when they feel emotional dysregulation. We establish a treatment plan with specific goals and a tentative time-frame.  

Subsequent sessions, lasting either 60 or 90 minutes, are dedicated to journeying through the trauma until it’s processed. It’s an intensive yet focused approach, one that prioritizes swift resolution without sacrificing depth or efficacy.

In a world where time is of the essence and healing can’t wait, short-term EMDR therapy offers a pathway to healing from  trauma, one session at a time.


Resources About EMDR


EMDR Institute-information about what EMDR is and cites the research that supports its utilization.


June 2023

Measuring Dissociation Level with Clients

2023-06-26T19:08:38+00:00June 26th, 2023|emdr|

I have been taking Dolores Mosquera’s excellent training on Treating Dissociative Disorders with EMDR: The Progressive Approach at EMDR Advanced Training and Distance Learning. This training offers two additional bundled days Day 2- EMDR Therapy for Suicidal clients and Self-harming behaviors and Day 3- Working with hostile voices and parts of the personality in complex trauma and dissociative disorders. I will be taking the Day three training next.

I have learned a lot in this first day and hope to post more videos. This video today is of the Back of the Head Technique developed by Jim Knipe which Dolores brought up in her training. This technique is used to help clients show how dissociated they feel in a particular moment. Obviously different clients have different levels of ability to know when they are dissociated. If they have some ability to gauge this Back of the Head technique is a great tool to use.

I hope to write up some more protocols to add to the list on my website. These are my explanations of other people’s protocols written in a simple manner to help therapists better understand them. I myself, often struggle with long very detailed protocols as I work to implement them with my clients.

Let me know if you have any topics/protocols you want me to cover.

Assessing For Dissociation Is Essential

2023-06-19T22:13:06+00:00June 14th, 2023|emdr, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an amazing treatment for trauma. However, it is crucial to assess for dissociation before using EMDR. Dissociation is defined as a psychological defense mechanism that involves a detachment from one’s thoughts, emotions, or sense of identity. Understanding and evaluating the presence of dissociation is vital for ensuring the safety and effectiveness of EMDR therapy.

Below I have some tools on how to assess for dissociation. For a first-level screening, the DES II is recommended. If the score is high or you otherwise still suspect dissociation that did not show up you can then use the MID-60. Both of these tools are accessible via the links below.

I recommend everyone get some training in working with dissociation and integrating parts or ego states work. My experience as an EMDRIA-approved consultant is that most stuck EMDR sessions can be resolved using parts interventions. This is also true for clients without dissociative disorders. We all have some protective parts and many times those parts need some time to prepare for processing. They may be fearful of what happens if trauma is processed.
The assessment process allows us to establish an effective treatment plan for each client. A client that has dissociative tendencies may need additional stabilization work before EMDR processing.

I have an online course on working with complex cases which, includes parts interventions to help with these stuck cases.

Resources for Assessing Dissociation

DES with color coded tabs

This shows what areas of dissociation the client is scoring higher on.

MID-60 instructions to clients

This is an instruction sheet to use when using the MID 60

Version for client to complete – MID-60

This is a spreadsheet version that the client can fill out

MID-60 pdf form client

This is a pdf version of the MID-60

Clinician scoring template spreadsheet – MID-60

Dr Mary-Ann Kate’s video for the MID-60.

Dr. Kate is responsible for many of the resources above and more. She shares it all on her Google Drive.

April 2023

Building EMDR Confidence-How To Effectively Use EMDR With Complex Cases

2023-04-12T19:58:42+00:00April 12th, 2023|emdr, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|

I am teaching a class Building EMDR Confidence-How To Effectively Use EMDR With Complex Cases. This class will be online on May 20, 2023, from 9-12 PST and 12-3 pm EST. It will be videotaped and available afterward as a distance learning class. This class is to help therapists better serve their clients with complex trauma. We will discuss stabilization techniques, how to know when a client is ready for EMDR, and interventions for when processing gets stuck. I will teach you some practical strategies for integrating parts/ego states work into your EMDR work. The goal is for you to have new tools to bring to the office the following Monday.

Register here. 

Here is a brief video of me talking about the class.


This class is for licensed therapists who have completed EMDR Basic Training Levels One and Two and have completed the associated 10 hours. This class is presented by Cathy Hanville, LCSW They/She
EMDRIA Credit Provider #23010
EMRIA Certified Therapist and Approved Consultant

This class is approved for 3 EMDRIA Credits  #23010-01
This class complies with EMDRIA Standards for EMDR

This class will be recorded and available to all registrants after the course for 60 days. If you do not attend the full live presentation you will have to complete a post test to obtain EMDRIA credits.

August 2022

EMDR Intensives for the San Francisco Bay Area

2022-08-29T18:47:01+00:00August 11th, 2022|emdr, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|

I recently started my EMDR intensive program. EMDR Intensives are great for those stuck on some issue or memory. You can get immediate help without making a long commitment to therapy.

When I started this program I got some immediate feedback about cost and time. As a result, I am going to tweak things a bit to make things more accessible. If you are interested in an EMDR Intensive but something about it does not work for you feel free to email me so we can set up a time to talk about what might work for you.

The only thing I don’t make an exception to is that there must be a 90- minute assessment session and clients must fill out the long assessment packet. I am happy to set up an appointment to review it together. I understand paperwork can be an obstacle.  Success from EMDR comes from completing a thorough assessment and a client being well resourced. I use the 90 minutes to do that.

However, I can do a few other things. I can eliminate the follow-up session. I like to do this so that clients can integrate their changes but if you do not want to do this I will not require it.

I am also now offering three-hour sessions and 90-minute sessions. You can do those as you wish. If you want to start with one 90-minute session and then want more EMDR we can add a 90 or even a 3-hour session as you desire. This way you are not making any commitments beyond what you need or desire.

I am now offering an initial package of a 90-minute assessment and a 90-minute EMDR session for $750.  For an initial 3-hour session it is $125o which includes the follow-up.

I am offering these Intensives to those in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am a social justice-oriented therapist and value diversity in my client. I specialize in working with those in the LGBTQ+ community but I welcome everyone to my practice. Please shoot me an email so we can set up a time for a free 15-minute consultation so you can see whether EMDR Intensives may work for your goals.

Please check out my video on EMDR Intensives to hear even more about how I work.

July 2022

Making the move to EMDR Intensives

2022-08-29T12:59:15+00:00July 22nd, 2022|emdr, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|

It is well-documented right now that there is a mental health crisis and a therapist shortage in the US. Add in the lack of trauma-informed therapists and gender-affirming therapists and it can be impossible for people to get the help they need.

As someone committed to both helping people reduce the effects of trauma on their lives and a therapist committed to providing affirming care to LGBTQA+ I want to help more people. However, as a therapist, I am limited as to how many clients I can effectively work with during a week using the 45-50 minute session model.

As an EMDR Consultant who provides consultation to others providing EMDR, I have heard many recent stories about how longer EMDR sessions have been super effective for clients. Weighing this along with the need for more therapy slots I have decided to transition to an EMDR-intensive model. All new clients will be for EMDR Intensives. This will allow me to see and help more people. It also allows me to work with a client on one specific topic or issue and be laser-focused on it. This model also helps those who cannot commit to the time or expense of ongoing weekly therapy.

I will do the work via Tele-Health which means clients can get help while in the comfort of their own homes. They can have their pets or weighted blanket with them or on them while doing the EMDR. In my work, I will do an extensive assessment. Each client gets a workbook where they can answer questions, fill out some assessments, and begin to formulate their Intensive Goals. I will then do a 90-minute assessment session. This allows us to get the goals and to do some resourcing. Resourcing is establishing a plan if a client becomes overwhelmed during or after processing. Then we jump into 1-3 2.5-hour sessions. We do these within a week or two depending on schedule and client desires. We end with a 45-minute session where we review progress and I can give any referrals needed, set up future treatment goals, or help the client integrate the changes they have made. 

Any client can get a free 15-minute consultation to discuss to determine whether or not EMDR Intensives are a good intervention for them. I can do adjunct therapy if you have a therapist already and just want to focus on one stuck point.


Feel free to email me at cathyhanvillelcsw@gmail.com today to set up an appointment for the free consultation.


July 2019

Imagine Not Being Disturbed by Painful Memories

2022-08-29T19:39:55+00:00July 24th, 2019|emdr, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist, trauma|


I have been trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)since 2001. EMDR is a process where you desensitize painful or traumatic memories by thinking about them while also receiving bilateral stimulation either via eye movements or tapping. For more information on EMDR, you can click here.

I have used EMDR many times over the years with much success. However, there were many times it did not work. For some clients, it was very hard to tolerate thinking about painful memories. It leads to them feeling flooded with emotions and overwhelmed.

Phil Manfied and Lewis Engel have developed a new EMDR technique he calls FLASH. Dr. Manfield is the author of books on EMDR and has trained many of us in the Bay Area in EMDR.

The Flash technique has the client think of the memory and then focus on a positive engaging experience that they talk about with the therapist while tapping their knees and occasionally (at the therapist’s request) triple blinking. Sounds crazy but Dr.Manfield has collected some good research on its effectiveness.

At the urging of a fellow therapist, I went to an all-day Flash training in June. I will admit I was both a bit skeptical and resentful of giving up a sunny Saturday for training. However, I left the training a convert. I have come back to my office and used Flash with a variety of different clients and the results have been wonderful. Some times the shift in disturbance about the memories is so fast that the clients can’t believe it has happened. And as I say to my clients it is an easy and enjoyable process. So if for some reason it does not work you may lose half an hour of a session but you won’t feel traumatized by the process.

As always every client brings different things and histories to therapy and results for one person are going to be different than they are for another person. Most people I work with now I do some extensive preparation work with before engaging in any EMDR work. This makes the EMDR work more likely to be successful. And of course, no therapist can ever guarantee any results. That being said Flash is a great technique to try if you have troubling memories that are still affecting you.

Here is Dr. Manfields explanation of Flash and a link to find a Flash trained therapist in your community.

July 2011

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