EMDR Intensives

at Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids

EMDR Intensives
In Grand Rapids, MI and West Michigan At Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids, MI

What is an EMDR Intensive?

An EMDR Intensive is a specialized form of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy designed for people who seek more immediate and impactful results. Unlike the traditional weekly one-hour sessions, EMDR Intensives may last from 2-5 hours per day over the course of 1-5 days. This means you may be able to go deeper into an issue in your life related to trauma or stress and heal faster. However, EMDR intensives should not be utilized in place of traditional counseling or weekly EMDR therapy. EMDR intensives should be considered in addition to whatever your regular psychotherapy and treatment regimen involves. The approach is backed by research showing that it can effectively accelerate symptom relief for trauma victims, people who suffer from PTSD, or those who are not diagnosed but still need help with their painful memories. The main difference from traditional therapeutic sessions is that EMDR intensives allow for more time-allotted in a shorter amount of time to deal with trauma or stress. As a result, you can experience meaningful progress in a shorter period of time.

What Does Research Say About EMDR Intensives?

While traditional EMDR therapy has been extensively researched and proven effective for conditions like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression (e.g., Susanty et al., 2022), the intensive format is a newer approach that’s gaining attention. Research is increasingly supporting the effectiveness of EMDR Intensives for rapid symptom reduction. Here are some of the recent studies supporting the effectiveness of EMDR intensives for processing traumatic experiences:
  • A 2017 study published in the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research shows that an intensive program of EMDR therapy delivered over consecutive days significantly decreased PTSD symptoms. In fact, 4 out of 7 patients even lost their PTSD diagnosis (Bongaerts et al., 2017).
  • A 2021 study published in the European Journal of Psychotraumatology reported significant reductions in PTSD symptoms, with 81.5% of patients showing clinically meaningful responses. The results remained stable at a 3-month follow-up (Van Pelt et al., 2021).
  • A 2018 study published in the European Journal of Psychotraumatology investigated an 8-day intensive treatment program that combined prolonged exposure, EMDR therapy, and physical activity for adults suffering from severe PTSD. The results showed a significant decline in symptom severity (Van Woudenberg et al. 2018).

Benefits of EMDR intensives

EMDR Intensives are a quick and effective way to work on trauma and stress. Here’s why they’re worth considering:
  • Rapid healing – You can experience significant results in as little as 3-5 days, compared to months or even years with traditional therapy.
  • Depth of focus – Traditional one-hour sessions sometimes feel like they end just when you’re making a breakthrough. EMDR Intensives allow for 3-4 hours of dedicated therapy time per day. Diving deeper into your issues can lead to more efficient and lasting healing.
  • Cost-effectiveness – Although initial costs are higher, the shorter duration of the treatment can result in overall cost savings compared to weekly sessions. Therefore, your therapeutic timeline won’t have to be dictated by health insurance limitations.
  • Time-saving – Most Intensives are scheduled over weekends. This reduces the need to take time off work. Moreover, EMDR intensives have shorter wait times, and most of the time, you can start benefiting from the therapy the same week.
  • Convenience for out-of-town clients – Weekly therapy sessions can be a challenge if you have a busy schedule or live far from a qualified provider. EMDR Intensives are a more accessible option for people who prefer a few high-quality treatment sessions instead of multiple visits.

Possible Risks

While EMDR Intensives offer numerous benefits, it’s important to also consider some potential risks:
  • As you process difficult experiences, you may encounter strong emotional reactions that can be challenging to manage.
  • Your brain continues processing for up to 48 hours after a session. This extended processing could make you more irritable and prone to vivid dreams.
  • Despite the focused approach, the human brain’s complexity may introduce unexpected challenges in the healing process.

What to Expect from an EMDR Intensive Session

When you sign up for an EMDR Intensive Session, you’re stepping into an environment specifically designed for rapid and deep healing. The session may span from between 2 to 5 hours, a duration much longer than conventional therapy hours. So, what exactly can you expect during a typical session?
  1. Initial Assessment
Your therapist will start by gathering your history to ensure that the intensive EMDR is the right fit for you. This can involve discussing past diagnoses and even taking a short assessment to measure your emotional grounding.
  1. Efficient Time Use
In EMDR Intensives, you spend less time on introductions and summaries, which usually take up a lot of a regular 50-60-minute session. With more time available, you do more work in a single session (intensive).
  1. Structured Breaks
Contrary to what some might think, you won’t be dealing with your traumatic memories for hours. Instead, you will take breaks to debrief (sometimes with nervous system regulation strategies like yoga or deep breathing). This will keep you balanced and focused.
  1. Setting Goals and Intentions
You and your therapist will work together to set specific objectives for the intensive, making the experience personalized to your needs. Whether you aim to process negative life experiences or lower distress levels, the session will target your goals directly.
  1. Skills and Resources
Throughout the intensive, you’ll acquire emotional tolerance skills and resources that you can apply in everyday life to maintain a balanced nervous system.
  1. Fast Relief
EMDR Intensives are known for providing quick relief from PTSD symptoms. Research even shows that a large percentage of single-trauma victims no longer exhibit PTSD symptoms after just three EMDR sessions. An intensive session essentially compresses these into a single, extended session.

Who is the Right Fit for EMDR Intensives?

  • People who have survived trauma or PTSD
This could be from experiences like violence, discrimination, sexual abuse, and neglect.
  • People struggling with specific mental health issues
Issues like perfectionism, imposter syndrome, or phobias can be addressed in these sessions.
  • People with tight schedules
Those who can’t make time for weekly therapy but can spare a few hours may find this approach convenient.
  • People looking for cost-effective treatment
If you’re looking for cost-effective treatment, you should know that EMDR Intensives often turn out to be less expensive than ongoing weekly sessions.
  • People seeking potentially quicker results
If you’re already in weekly therapy but want faster relief from your symptoms, this could be the right choice for you.
  • People in high-stress roles or situations
Healthcare workers, first responders, and individuals who have been through sudden, impactful events can particularly benefit.
  • People who have active coping mechanisms and are in therapy currently
It is highly recommended that people do not participate in EMDR intensives if they are not currently in psychotherapy or counseling with a different practitioner, or do not have active healthy coping skills in their lives. EMDR Therapy and Cognitive Dissonance EMDR Therapy may help you process difficult experiences, which in turn may reduce cognitive dissonance. For instance, people may feel that “I should feel like this” because “my life was like this” and it can help some people come to terms with how they feel inside versus how they think about themselves. EMDR Intensives do not guarantee a relief of all suffering, trauma, or PTSD Just like any therapy, EMDR therapy intensives may help a great deal with a certain issue. However, most of our lives are not that simple and we all deal with a great deal of stress, outside factors, and past adverse experiences. So, please keep in mind that for many people, EMDR therapy and EMDR intensives may help a great deal–but they should be utilized in place of any other intensive therapy (such as Intensive Outpatient, Partial Hospitalization, and Hospitalization), or instead of regular psychotherapy, counseling, or medication management. Always consult your doctor and primary therapist for approval before planning an EMDR therapy intensive.

How to Find an EMDR Therapist in Michigan

  • Finding an EMDR Intensive Session in Michigan.
If you live in Michigan, or even if you’re willing to travel to Grand Rapids, MI, you have a unique opportunity to benefit from EMDR Intensives. EMDR Intensives are a unique and effective approach to rapid healing. We’re proud to announce that Health for Life Counseling in Grand Rapids is one of the only clinics in Michigan that offers this specialized service. Our licensed therapists specialize in EMDR Intensives in order to provide a safe and supportive environment for your therapeutic journey. Due to health insurance regulations, we cannot accept your health insurance for EMDR Intensives. If you want to utilize your insurance for EMDR Therapy, you can, but these are done in a traditional weekly 55 min to 1 hour appointments, once per week.  Don’t miss out on this chance for fast and effective healing. Contact us today to see if EMDR Intensives are the right fit for you.

Therapists For EMDR Intensives

Katerina Guerrero

Empowering Your Journey: Culturally Inclusive, Integrative Therapy for Healing and Growth

Brendan Cole

EMDR for Performance & Trauma Recovery, Couples Therapy, Premarital Counseling

Caley Weisgerber

Compassionate and Empowering Therapy for Deep Healing

Kori Crask

Trauma-Informed Counseling and EMDR Therapy for long-term healing

Kay Foster

Emotion-focused, Inclusive Counseling and EMDR Therapy

Anna Utter

EMDR, DBT Skills, and Trauma-Informed Therapy for Adults and Teens

Michael Egan

Counseling that Empowers and Strengthens You

Taylor Mize

Empowering Survivors to Heal and Use Their Voice

Contact Us Today! (We'll get back to you by the next business day)


Therapeutic Supports In Place

To participate in the EMDR Therapy Intensive Program:

  • I agree that I must have a psychotherapist whom I see regularly and that I am participating in this EMDR Therapy Intensive Program as an additional therapeutic process (not as my primary psychotherapy intervention or service).
  • I agree that I must have a primary care doctor whom I see regularly and that I am participating in this EMDR Therapy Intensive Program as an additional therapeutic process (not as my primary treatment of any ailment or symptom).

Natural Supports In Place

To participate in the EMDR Therapy Intensive Program:

  • I agree that I must have at least one person in my life whom I regularly speak with about my personal life in an in-depth manner, so that if I had any issues during my EMDR Therapy Intensive Program, I could contact this person in some way.
  • I agree that I must have an emergency contact on file.

Coping and Grounding Tools

To participate in the EMDR Therapy Intensive Program:

  • I agree that I will either utilize the coping and grounding tools provided by my regular psychotherapist, doctor, or any other health professional that I am engaged with.
  • I agree that I may be taught new coping or grounding tools during the EMDR therapy intensive–and that I may need to utilize these skills due to the fact that EMDR Therapy may bring up unpleasant memories, emotions, and bodily sensations.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind about EMDR intensives:

  • Due to the sustained reprocessing of traumatic or upsetting memories over several hours, EMDR intensives can be emotionally and physiologically demanding
  • Processing traumatic memories can be emotionally challenging, even in a safe and supportive environment. It is important to be prepared for this before you commit to an intensive.
  • They require a lot of commitment. You will need to be willing to work hard and to be open to change.
  • It is important to remember that EMDR intensives are only one part of a holistic treatment plan, and they are not a guarantee for immediate symptom elimination. For best therapeutic results, continue working with your therapist even after the intensive is over.


  • There are NO guarantees that any type of counseling or therapy will have the results you are personally looking for.
  • Participating in EMDR therapy and/or EMDR therapy intensives does not guarantee the results you may be seeking.
  • If the participants in the counseling process make a “good faith effort” and commitment to therapy, it is likely that they will be exposed to skills, new approaches to thoughts and coping skills, as well as gain insights into their own behaviors and emotions– however this is not guaranteed.
  • All participants may experience uncomfortable feelings and/or emotions like sadness, guilt, anxiety, anger, loneliness, and helplessness, etc. Also some emotional difficulties may be temporarily stronger during the counseling process.
  • Any type of intentional dishonesty or deceit, unwillingness to reflect and take responsibility for one’s actions, or lack of interest and motivation to engage in the counseling process will not produce the results most are seeking.
  • All aspects of health (Physical, Mental, Emotional) all require active participation in one’s life outside of the counseling hour and/or EMDR intensive therapy. Health is not a state that one someday attains, it is a constant process to work on one’s health and due to numerous factors, one’s health cannot be guaranteed even if one actively works on it. However, it is generally agreed upon in medical and counseling literature that if one is actively working on their health and utilizing empirically-proven methods, as well as working with a competent licensed practitioner, that the chances of feeling better or more healthy increase.
  • Please make sure to speak to your psychotherapist about your expectations, goals, and hope for results.


  • If you are in a crisis of any sort, we not only need you to communicate this to your psychotherapist, we need you to take action:
    • Dial 911 immediately,
    • proceed to the nearest emergency room,
    • and/or dial 988 (the national crisis line)
      • and receive help from on-call trained triage clinicians and emergency personnel.
    • Get in contact with your emergency contact
    • Get in contact with your psychotherapist, doctor(s), or any other healthcare practitioner you are regularly engaged with.
    • Get in contact with your natural supports

Structure and Pricing:

Typical Intensive Scheduling Possibilities:

  • Please note that you may work with your psychotherapist to customize your EMDR Intensive Sessions to your unique needs, goals, and schedule.

Basic Fee Structure for the EMDR Intensive:

  • EMDR Intensive Unit (“half day”)
    • 5-hour Intake is required in advance of the EMDR intensive= $200
    • 3-hour EMDR intensive = $600
    • $800 total for the basic EMDR intensive

Multiple Day EMDR Intensive Unit (“multi-days”)

  • 2-Day EMDR Intensive Unit (“2 half days”)
    • 5-hour Intake is required in advance of the EMDR intensive= $200
    • Two 3-hour EMDR intensive = $1200
    • $1300 total for the basic EMDR intensive (Discounted by $100)
  • 3-Day EMDR Intensive Unit (“3 half days”)
    • 5-hour Intake is required in advance of the EMDR intensive= $200
    • Three 3-hour EMDR intensive = $1800
    • $1800 total for the basic EMDR intensive (Discounted by $200)

Regarding Health Insurance Payments

  • Health Insurance Companies generally cover individual weekly therapy (with an appropriate diagnosis) as well as doctor’s visits, intensive outpatient therapy, partial hospitalization, and psychiatric inpatient hospitalization.
  • However, Health Insurance Companies do not yet recognize EMDR intensive sessions (above 1.5 hours) as a billable service.
  • Therefore, EMDR intensives are a self-pay only service.
  • We cannot provide you a superbill for out of network services or reimbursement from your insurance company.
  • There may be an option to utilize your HSA or FSA funds, but you must talk to your healthcare representatives to verify this before paying. We have no way of knowing if this is an allowed service or not.

Good Faith Estimate

  • This is a completely voluntary service that you are opting into. All of the financial information has been provided to you before you participate in an EMDR Intensive session. You may decide not to participate.

Payment Policies

No Show/ Cancellation Policy for the Intake Appointment.

All EMDR intensives should have an in person or Telehealth Intake Appointment.

  • The no show or cancellation fee for this intake appointment is $100 dollars. It is non-refundable.

No Show/ Cancellation Policy as well as Payment Policy.

For the EMDR Intensive:

A down payment is required to reserve the time with a therapist for an EMDR intensive.

The two options are for a cancellation or no show for an EMDR intensive:

  • Pay 100% of the fee upfront before EMDR intensive
    1. If the therapist has to cancel, this is 100% refundable.
    2. If you have to cancel less than 7 days before the EMDR intensive session, you will only be refunded 50% of the cost (as the therapist had to move their schedule and individual clients to accommodate the space).
    3. If the EMDR intensive proceeds and is completed, you have paid ahead of time. Thank you.
  • Pay 50% of the fee up front before the EMDR intensive
    1. If the therapist has to cancel, you will receive all of your money back
    2. If you have to cancel less than 7 days before the EMDR intensive session, there is no refund for this 50% of the cost (as the therapist had to move their schedule and individual clients to accommodate the space).
    3. If the EMDR intensive proceeds and is completed, you have paid 50% of the fee ahead of time. On the last day of the EMDR intensive, you will be charged the remaining amount.

Find Our Offices!

Grand Rapids, MI

Ada, MI