What is EMDR Treatment and is it Right for Me?

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What if you could go back in time and change how you experienced trauma in the past? A modern form of psychotherapy called EMDR is doing just that and clients are finding the results to be incredible. At Healthy Minds NYC, we have therapists trained specifically in this method and below you’ll find a brief primer on the basics of EMDR treatment.


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of psychotherapy proven to be effective in relieving the emotional distress associated with many psychological disorders.

EMDR was originally designed in 1987 to treat individuals suffering from PTSD as traumatic memories from the past caused disturbing emotional responses in the present. In recent years, EMDR’s use has expanded to treat a variety of disorders beyond PTSD, such as chronic anxiety, depression and acute trauma.

While many forms of therapy, such as CBT for example, focus on resolving a client’s distress by directly accessing and reformulating the thoughts, actions and emotions that resulted from a traumatic experience, EMDR takes a different approach. In EMDR, we focus directly on the traumatic memory and re-process the experience to store the memory in the brain in a way that reduces the symptoms the client is facing.


EMDR follows a specific sequence of treatment through eight phases.

Phase 1: History. First, the therapist and client work together to get a full history for the client and identify a particular memory to target.

Phase 2: Preparation. Next the therapist helps prepare the client for treatment by explaining what to expect, how the treatment will progress and supportive methods to help the client remain emotionally and physically safe and calm throughout the process.

Phase 3-6: Processing. Then the client is asked to access the chosen memory on a cognitive, affective, behavioral and physiological level. The client is prompted to think about that memory and hold it in mind while using their eyes to track the therapist’s hands as they are moved back and forth across the client’s field of vision. Alternatively, the therapist may use a small machine to simulate the back and forth movement instead of the hands. As the client experiences this Rapid Eye Movement or REM action, the traumatic memories are re-processed with new positive significance. As this new interpretation is strengthened for the client, the therapist encourages the client to scan their body for any residual physiological distress.

Phase 7: Closure. During the closure phase of treatment, the client may be asked to keep a log throughout the week to monitor their experience. They will also be directed to utilize the new self-calming activities identified earlier in treatment whenever they are triggered.

Phase 8: Evaluation. At the end of the process, the client and therapist evaluate how the client now feels and what effect the treatment has had. It may be determined that additional memories can now be targeted or continued focus on the previous memory may be necessary.


While a typical EMDR session may last anywhere from 60-90 minutes, the length of treatment varies in relation to the amount of trauma the client has experienced.


Do you think EMDR could be helpful for your mental health? Consider booking an introductory session with our team of trained therapists. Schedule a free consultation with us today to learn more about how this treatment or others could be helpful for you on your journey toward health.  

Comprehensive Guide to Premarital Counseling In New York City

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Congratulations on your engagement!

Before you tie the knot, be sure to carve out time to prepare for marriage through premarital counseling. While wedding plans can occupy a lot of a recently engaged couple’s time, energy and finances, premarital counseling is undoubtedly one of the best areas to focus. You’re getting married after all, not becoming professional event planners.


Premarital counseling is a special form of couples therapy that helps you strengthen your relationship and identify any blind spots prior to getting married. Think of it as preventative care for your future wedded bliss, allowing you to avoid major conflict in the future or learn how to navigate simple challenges that could escalate to massive issues down the line.

Research shows that couples who complete premarital counseling are 30% less likely to divorce or separate than couples who have not spent time preparing for marriage. With the average form of premarital counseling lasting about 8 hours, that’s less than a day of effort that help lead to a lifetime of a rich and satisfying relationship.


Couples therapy is typically centered on addressing an area of disconnect or stress within a particular relationship. While premarital counseling may help you discuss conflict or difficulties as a couple, it’s much more proactive and focused on equipping you with the tools you need to become a “master of marriage” as the Gottmans often refer to happily married couples. Note that the Gottmans are therapists who have been able to predict with 93% accuracy whether or not a couple will divorce simply by watching their interaction. (At Healthy Minds NYC, our relationship expert who offers premarital counseling is certified by the Gottman Institute).


Styles of premarital counseling vary just as much as therapists do. However, you’ll typically find that they fall into one of the following categories: independent study, private counseling, group workshops and online assessments. At Healthy Minds NYC, we offer a variety of premarital counseling options such as the following:

  1. Private Premarital Counseling. Our practice offers a marriage prep program that includes an online assessment from Prepare Enrich. After taking the assessment, you and your partner meet either in-person or virtually with our certified relationship expert to explore the results and discuss the areas of strength and growth in your relationship. We integrate exercises from Prepare, our marriage and family therapy training, and our experience counseling hundreds of New York City couples to help you enter marriage with confidence. We even provide a certificate of completion!

  2. Premarital Counseling Group Workshop. If you’re interested in a condensed program that covers all that major topics most couples face in marriage, we offer the Healthy Minds NYC Premarital Counseling Workshop throughout the year. Visit to find out our next date. In this workshop, we integrate the Prepare online assessment so you receive personalized information about your unique relationship. Then you gather with other couples for exercises, lecture, and private couple discussion. It’s a fun and enriching day to focus on the loving relationship you’re building together.

  3. Prepare Enrich Online Assessment or SYMBIS Assessment. If you prefer to work independently and just want a research-based therapeutic assessment of your relationship, our practice provides access to the Prepare Enrich assessment or the SYMBIS (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts Assessment). This option is perfect if you want an overview of how your relationship is doing so you know where to focus your energy as you move toward your wedding day.


In premarital counseling, you always have the option to focus on the topics that matter most to you. However, we find that it’s critical for couples to discuss the following topics:

  1. Communication - Assertiveness and Active Listening

  2. Conflict Management

  3. Financial Management

  4. Sexuality

  5. Spirituality

  6. Personality Type

  7. Relationship Roles

  8. Children & Parenting

  9. Extended Family Relationships


One of the biggest mistakes we see couples make when considering premarital counseling is waiting too long to begin. Don’t put off premarital counseling until weeks before the wedding or after you’ve made significant investments in the wedding process. As soon as you’re engaged, seek out what type of premarital counseling you’d like to do and allow more than enough time to complete the process. Generally, 6 months before the wedding date as a minimum is ideal. You’ll want to allow enough time to have important discussions about your relationship and the life you’re building together without any pressure from your social circle, financial investments or busy schedule. It’s not uncommon for long ignored issues in your relationship or individual pasts to get triggered as you discuss your future. Give yourself time to fully process whatever may arise.

Despite how weighty premarital counseling can sound or feel, it’s often one of the most joyful experiences a couple can have together on the road to marriage. By exploring individual and shared desires for the future couples usually see their intimacy grow as well as their confidence and excitement about the mate they have chosen.

If you want to learn more about premarital counseling options here at Healthy Minds NYC, visit our Premarital Counseling page to choose which option is best for you. As always with our practice, you can schedule a free consultation with our care coordinator who is happy to help you identify the best path for your unique circumstances. Schedule a free consultation with us today!