Grigore Counselling & Associates

Let’s Talk EMDR!

Are EMDR Intensives Hyped Or Effective? Find Out From The Master Himself

EMDR enthusiasts, brace yourselves! Ever pondered the buzz around EMDR intensives? Curious to know if the hype is backed by real effectiveness? Well, hold onto your curiosity hats because we’ve got a treat for you. Step into the enlightening realm of ‘Let’s Talk EMDR,’ the captivating podcast powered by the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) hosted by Kim Howard.

In a recent episode, the spotlight was on none other than Robert A. Grigore, a certified EMDR therapist and consultant. The topic of discussion? EMDR therapy intensives—the subject that can be a game-changer. As someone who had the chance to learn from this podcast, I’m excited to share my insights with you. Get ready to uncover the truth straight from the master himself as we navigate through a conversation that unveils the secrets and insights behind the curtain.

How Did Robert Become An EMDR Therapist?

Robert’s journey is certainly not what you may be expecting (He was not born with the love for EMDR like every other therapist says). His journey started off as a talk therapist, but after spending as long as almost 3 years on a client and still not getting the results was when he thought to himself that something was off. Then somehow, he learned about EMDR and started taking professional training for it.

And no, this was not a love-at-first-sight kind of situation. Just like many of you, Grigore also thought to himself that EMDR was a ridiculous invention and that just tapping was not going to help anyone. It was actually when someone like you and me, one from his clients, saw a huge shift in their mindset. In just 3 EMDR sessions, his client went from the mindset of killing his abuser to having a civil conversation with him. That’s huge, and that’s exactly what Robert felt. Now, let’s get to the main discussion where Robert and Kim discussed the EMDR intensives.

What Are EMDR Intensives?

Our therapist talks about “two levers” to be pulled regarding EMDR intensives. First, is the “duration lever,” meaning how long the session is. With an EMDR intensive, the duration may be quite a bit longer than the average session, which is typically 50-60 minutes. Robert’s EMDR intensive sessions range from anything between 2 to 6 hours. The second “lever” to be pulled is the “frequency lever,” meaning how many times per week are you seen by your therapist? Pulling one lever or the other dramatically increases speed, but pulling both levers supercharges the results according to Robert. But is going this far, this intensive, really worth it? Hear it from Robert!

Are EMDR Intensives Really Effective?

According to Robert, 37 out of his 39 EMDR-intensive clients saw a tremendous change in their lives. He also shared the experience of his client Mike who served as a successful financial consultant for decades until COVID happened, and he lost a bunch of businesses all at once.

After almost 17 hours of frequent 1.5-hour sessions, Mike went from having suicidal thoughts to living life to the fullest again and running a non-profit organization. Of course, the details are missing here, and the process must have so much more to it, but what we do know from this is that EMDR intensives are effective.

Robert busted two myths about EMDR intensives for his audience:

  1. It’s Dangerous.
  2. Anyone Can Do It.

To support what he was saying, Robert quoted a study conducted by Mendez et al., 2018, who used a modified approach of a previous study and conducted 5-day intensive EMDR therapy on 12 patients.

All patients received 90-minute-long sessions twice daily, and at the end of the study, significantly reduced their symptoms. The intensives are not harmful, but anyone performing the intensives might be harmful because not every therapist or clinician is trained enough to take a client through 2-6 hours sessions a day, 3-5 days in a row. So, the right kind of knowledge, training, and clinical experience is very important to get the right results.

Robert believes that we have a long way to go before we overcome cultural differences and people become more aware of the benefits of EMDR therapy. For this purpose, he has been working with his colleagues to put together some cultural training to shift perspectives. He also shared his favorite free resources for you all to utilize and get help from. Sign up for his free eBook “You Need Therapy. EMDR: Real People With Real Problems Getting Real Help” here. Or grab the physical copy on or

Here’s The Catch

All in all, our host and guest reached the conclusion that not every therapy is for everyone. But Robert says that the quick turnaround time of intensive EMDR therapy is a favourite aspect that he and over 40 clients (at the time of the podcast) have similar feelings about. With this accelerated approach to therapy, clients no longer have to wait for years or even months for results. And Robert’s anecdotal evidence seems to mirror the research, indicating the low drop out rates for clients when undergoing intensive EMDR therapy (meaning, most who start the treatment end up completing it because it’s so short).

All in all, EMDR is an excellent approach for anyone looking to overcome past traumas, insecurities, and fears. But EMDR intensives seem to take it to the next level. You can listen to the complete podcast here. Take control of who you want to be and how you want to live your life.

EMDR Vs. EFT – Which Should I Choose to Heal My Trauma?

The National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP) has cited EMDR as an evidence-based practice for the treatment of PTSD, trauma, anxiety, and depression (SAMHSA’s NREPP, 2011). At the same time, EFT is also a treatment widely supported by evidence, as per a paper published after comparing the results of 23 randomized control trials (Dawson Church, 2013). And so the debate of EMDR Vs. EFT arises. This has been a long overdue debate, but I wanted to spend my sweet time comparing both before I took any side. And now I’m here with the results to help you figure out your side.

How Well Supported Is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Technique, summarized as EMDR, is a technique used by certified therapists and psychologists to target past events that trigger disturbances. It typically uses eye movements to help process and heal from trauma. 7 out of 10 studies have supported EMDR therapy as more rapid-acting and more effective than trauma-focused therapy (Perm J. et al., 2014). But how? Today, let me tell you about the science behind EMDR and how it actually works.

Science Behind EMDR

Neuroscientists are of the opinion that EMDR is similar to REM sleep (dream). Your therapist will ask you to move your eyes from side to side while you focus on a traumatic memory or emotion. This is similar to the movement of the eyes during dreaming. EMDR slows down your overstimulated amygdala, which is a small part of your brain and your emotion’s major processing center.

Your brain waves now synchronize in a way that the stuck traumatic memories are reactivated and repeated until they become unstuck and less traumatic memories. Also, I see that many people are curious as to if they’ll cry during their session.

Honestly, this varies from person to person. I’ve seen people cry their hearts out during the session, but it’s certainly not because the process is painful. People cry both out of sadness and relief, but it’s helpful either way as you get to release the emotional stress.


Neuroplasticity and Lasting Effects of EMDR

Another intriguing aspect of EMDR is its connection to neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections. Several studies have suggested that EMDR’s eye movement component might play a role in enhancing neuroplasticity, aiding in the reprocessing of traumatic memories. A study published in the ” Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry” (Lee & Cuijpers, 2013) found that EMDR led to significant reductions in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and these improvements were maintained even at follow-up assessments. This suggests that EMDR’s effects may not only be rapid-acting but also have a lasting impact on the brain’s ability to process and cope with traumatic experiences. The combination of clinical support, scientific research, and endorsement from renowned figures, underscores EMDR’s position as a well-established therapeutic approach for addressing trauma-related challenges.

EFT For Your Traumas

Over the last two decades, the Emotional Freedom Technique EFT has made huge progress as the once-fringe therapy is now widely accepted. Gary Craig is the founder and developer of EFT, and this technique is relatively new (1990). During EFT, a person taps various meridian parts of their body as they focus on their traumatic memories. This technique mainly works by focusing on how to clear the blockages in your body’s energy systems, which in turn helps to reduce the intensity of negative emotions.

In EMDR Vs. EFT, EFT has no sounds or eye movements involved, unlike in EMDR. During an EFT session, the client keeps repeating a specific phrase related to their traumatic memory and keeps tapping on a specific body part while doing so. A study of 5000 patients seeking treatment for anxiety in the form of EFT and CBT showed that 90% of the patients receiving EFT showed an improvement in their state (J Evid et al., 2019).

The Underlying Principles of EFT

EFT, also known as tapping therapy, is an approach combining the elements of acupuncture, psychology, and energy medicine. The idea behind this technique is that our human body contains a system of energy meridians that are similar to those in traditional Chinese medicine. Negative emotions create imbalances in the body’s energy system that lead to a variety of psychological and physiological symptoms.

Gently using your fingertips to apply pressure on various acupuncture points helps balance the energy flow and release emotional distress. This is because these body points are assumed to be connected to the body’s energy meridians. If you’re not someone who believes in negative and positive energy etc., then EFT is not for you.

Is EFT Really So Good?

The best part of EFT is that you can easily do it at home without the presence of your therapist. But that’s also a downside as the presence of an expert is always a good idea in case something unusual happens. Some therapists even use EFT in combination with EMDR to help achieve the desired results.

One of the demerits of EFT is that I couldn’t find a lot of studies to back it up. And most of the studies I found were rather small and not detailed, which makes me question the scientific credibility of EFT. Many people also believe that the studies that support EFT have flaws in their scientific methods, which, again, puts a question mark on the reliability of the technique. All these points side with EMDR and make it weigh more in the combat of EMDR vs. EFT.

EMDR Vs. EFT – Let’s Compare

The figure below shows a summary of the similarities and dissimilarities in EMDR Vs. EFT. Let’s have a quick look!


Here’s The Catch

People like Prince Harry have got results from EMDR, and this technique is also endorsed by other celebrities like Justin Beiber, Demi Lovato, and Lady Gaga. However, ‘The Bionic Woman,’ aka actress Lindsey Wagner has benefited from EFT and is also backed up by names like Dr. Joseph Mercola (Author of Ultimate Wellness) and Devon Allen (US Olympian). So, all in all, both techniques in the EMDR Vs. EFT debate have shown their benefits, and you can’t really go wrong with any one of these.

However, the training process for EFT certification is quite easy, meaning almost anyone can be trained in EFT. While it’s good up to some extent, if you happen to be working with a therapist who did a simple weekend training for EFT, then your situation might worsen. EMDR training, on the other hand, is very detailed, and only a master’s level therapist is eligible to provide EMDR services, so you can rest assured that you’re in the right hands. Either way, don’t forget to work hard on yourself every day!

Brainspotting vs EMDR: Key Differences Between Them

Brainspotting vs EMDR. That is today’s debate. Brainspotting and EMDR are two approaches that have been gaining attention for their ability to help individuals recover from trauma and improve their state.

You might be wondering, Aren’t these the same types? No, you are wrong. And to be honest, it’s not your fault. There are so many types of therapies out there that sometimes even I, as a pharmacist, cannot remember them all.

Often considered to be ‘power therapies’ for people dealing with their past traumas, these innovative therapies show promise in promoting your healing and overall well-being. EMDR and brainspotting have so many similarities, yet you can clearly differentiate between them.

In today’s blog post on Brainspotting vs EMDR, I will help you understand what these therapies are and what differences they hold so that you can make the right decision for yourself.


EMDR is a psychotherapy treatment that has been proven effective in alleviating the distress caused by stressful or traumatic life experiences. Do you know what it stands for? It stands for “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing” and has been employed by therapists since the 1980s.

The concept of EMDR was initially discovered by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1987 during a walk in the park. Since then, EMDR has evolved so much that, today, doctors recommend it as an effective treatment in the Practice Guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association.

Well, now you might be wondering how this EMDR thing works… It works by not only moving eyes but also processing trauma stored within the brain. In some cases, hand clapping and audio stimulation are also utilized alongside eye movements.

It assists individuals in releasing their emotions and aiding in the recovery of their minds from memories and anxieties. The treatment typically consists of eight phases that address and eliminate the root cause for one’s emotional distress by desensitizing and reprocessing past experiences, present challenges, and future fears and aspirations.


Brainspotting focuses on addressing the root cause of the problem in a different manner than EMDR. This is achieved by establishing a connection between eye positions, known as “brain spots”.

In this, your therapist gets access to the levels of your brain. These therapists are trained in Brainspotting and possess the ability to identify the source of an issue through signals emitted by the system.

They simply direct your gaze toward positions that allows you to tap into trauma. By directing your attention to an area in the brain, they can tap into its depths, enabling the processing and release of trauma for long-lasting healing.

Brainspotting vs EMDR – 3 Key Differences

After working as a pharmacist for years, there is one thing I can say for sure in our Brainspotting vs EMDR debate. Knowing what will work for you is important, but knowing what will NOT work for you is more important.

That’s why to choose the right therapy you first need to understand the differences between them.

·       Structured and Flexible Approach

The main key distinction between EMDR and Brainspotting that I think is worth saying is in terms of their approach.

EMDR therapy follows a more structured approach that offers therapists and clients a roadmap for treatment. It encompasses eight phases aimed at addressing events, reducing distress, and instilling positive beliefs.

The therapist begins by collecting information about your trauma history, followed by educating you on the process and what to expect. This activates your target memory, leading to the desensitization and reprocessing phase, ultimately culminating in the installation of beliefs and the complete extinction of the associated symptoms.

On the other hand, Brainspotting takes a personalized approach compared to EMDR’s structured methodology. In this, the therapist does not have any protocol to adhere to, which gives the therapist a little flexibility but may also increase the risk of patient relapse.  

Brainspotting vs EMDR

·       Difference in Relapse Rate

Although both treatments could involve the use of eye movements to treat trauma (EMDR may use other techniques as well), there is an essential difference in the relapse rate of patients.

In EMDR, the relapse rate is statistically extremely low as compared to other therapies. There’s a study that shows that in a follow-up period of more than 1 year, the EMDR group reported fewer problems related to depression and fewer relapses than the control group.

But with Brainspotting, things are a little different. We don’t recommend it as the first step in recovery from trauma. This is because this therapy taps into the unprocessed portion of the brain, without a clear framework to guide patients to adaptive resolution, which increases the risk of potential relapse.

·       Difference in Results

The last key difference worth mentioning in our debate of Brainspotting vs EMDR is in their rate and speed of results.

Extensive research on EMDR supports its effectiveness in addressing a range of issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to a study, EMDR has a confidence level of 95% for the treatment of depressive and traumatic symptoms. Although it does include reliving and re-interpreting those traumatic memories, which might be painful for some, it surely appears to give far better results than any other type.  

Moreover, further studies indicated that compared to other approaches, EMDR obtained clinically-relevant results in far less time and required no homework, medication, or preparation. (Novo Navarro et al., 2018)

In contrast, Brainspotting offers an intuitive therapeutic process that could be beneficial for clients who are looking for an alternative method for working through their trauma.


We all are dealing with some traumatic feelings in our life. No matter how hard we try, it is not easy to heal from them on your own. Thankfully, there are several different therapies out there.

But how do you find out which one will work for you and which one won’t? By knowing the differences between them. That is why I have categorized the difference between two well-known traumatic therapies these days. Brainspotting vs EMDR.

From having a well-structured approach to treating your trauma to an extremely low chance of relapse, EMDR is clearly a better choice in my opinion. It has a ton of evidence-based research to convince you that it can deliver you result.

To learn more or schedule a free consultation at Grigore Counselling & Associates who specialize in achieving accelerated results with advanced EMDR therapy procedures for professionals, you can visit their website:

If you are still not satisfied and want more information, you are always welcomed to read Robert’s Grigore’s book: You NEED Therapy. EMDR: Real People, With Real Problems, Getting Real Help.