EMDR Counseling

Too many times trauma rears its ugly head by barricading us from our loved ones and draining our self-esteem. As a counselor who provides trauma therapy in San Diego, I see firsthand how counseling can help transform these lonely experiences into empowering ones. People who own their healing process by learning to validate their emotions, develop healthy coping strategies, and find the support they need build confidence and feel more powerful than before.

Don’t let a negative event take over your life

Have you had a negative experience that you can’t get out of your head?  You may have flashbacks of this experience, certain situations that remind you of this event can cause you intolerable amounts of anxiety.  You may be experiencing intrusive thoughts or abnormal irritability. This negative and traumatic event can be anything from the sudden death of a loved one, combat, physical or sexual abuse, or an accident. EMDR counseling, a process we use here at Estes Therapy, has been designed to get to the root of this trauma and relieve the flashbacks, anxiety, heightened sensitivity, and other negative emotions. What is EMDR? I’ll get to that in just a second, but first a quick rundown of how trauma therapy works:

Neutralize Your Trigger

Certain events can trigger the trauma you have experienced and you may or may not realize the association. A “trigger” is something that hits a sensitivity and causes emotions and the body to become reactive. Triggered behavior can look like withdrawal, rage, or irritability — and these can manifest differently person to person. It’s not just emotions that ramp up with trauma; the body is an important barometer for our emotional experience. Tension, headaches, digestive issues, insomnia, and more can be symptomatic of triggered trauma. These sensitivities can be treated through therapeutic methods like EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Trauma therapy can help desensitize not just certain triggers, but help to dig to the core of the experience and neutralize the core issue.

Gain Validation

Traumatic experiences can be extremely isolating. While some may find there are common responses to difficult situations, everyone has a unique way of processing trauma. This can be confusing, frustrating, and lonely. When you go through trauma therapy San Diego, you will find that your counselor can validate your experience and help you work through the emotions that come along with it. Depression, anxiety, and rage do not appear out of nowhere. Validating that your feelings are real and that they matter is an important step in healing trauma. Ultimately, after trauma therapy you should walk away feeling heard and safe.

Learn Coping Skills

Once you realize that your trauma is not in your head, the next step is developing coping skills. Trauma therapy San Diego is invaluable in this department! Your therapist will counsel with you to figure out how to heal and manage your triggers day-to-day as you neutralize them. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), and other techniques can be helpful in helping you to self-soothe and modify your behavior. modifying your behavior. You can rely on your therapist to counsel you through anxiety, anger, and other difficult emotions as you learn to trust yourself and others again.

Regain Hope

When you have coping skills in your toolbox of life and your traumatic experience is neutralized, you will begin to feel hope. Healing is an opportunity to rebirth the way you interact with your partner and those around you. Instead of that heavy weight that never goes away, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s so important to recognize the emotional work you’ve done. Working through trauma is daunting initially, but when you are able to learn how to handle these kinds of experiences, you are learning the important skill of resilience. With this, you can look with confidence and hope toward your future.

Now, What Exactly is EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This research-based therapy technique is most beneficial to those seeking treatment for trauma and anxiety. When someone experiences an extreme negative reaction or feeling in response to a certain situation or memory, EMDR is used to help replace the negative emotions with more relaxed reactions. Ultimately, EMDR offers relief and a more positive outlook in facing similar types of stressors. EMDR is counseling treatment designed to desensitize you from the trauma and help you reprocess the memory so it does not lead to anxiety, anger, fear, etc. but rather a positive emotion. It helps stop the triggers, decrease panic attacks, and help you feel more like yourself again.

EMDR Desensitization

Instead of the usual talk therapy to work through the problem, EMDR trauma therapy uses bilateral stimulation in the form of bilateral eye movements (alternatively, auditory tones, hand buzzers, and/or knee taps can be used as stimulation).

What does this mean? You will follow your therapist’s fingers, light bar, or buzzers moving back and forth while you think about the instance of the event that is causing the extreme distress. This stimulation will be continued and repeated as you focus on and describe the feelings associated with the anxiety-producing memory. This is done in order to recreate the anxiety in a purposeful manner to help you become desensitized to the stressor.

It may seem daunting to continuously focus on the trauma, but after multiple sets of the bilateral stimulation paired with coaching from your EMDR therapist, the anxiety from the memory will reduce. Facing the memory and the fear or anxiety it elicits is the desensitization part of EMDR therapy. The mental energy required to focus on the bilateral stimulation takes away from the energy needed to feel the anxiety of the memory. This allows you to feel less anxious or afraid. We’ve had clients who reported their anxiety as a 10 before these sessions and say their anxiety has gone to a 1 or even 0 afterward!

EMDR Reprocessing

Reprocessing is about you imagining how you would like to feel about the traumatic memory, person, or topic. As you are doing the bilateral stimulation, you focus on how you would like to feel about the memory in order to replace the existing anger, anxiety, fear, etc. As a result, you are able to actually feel the way you have wanted about the memory, person, or situation. Eventually, you are able to leave therapy feeling positive about the very scenario that leads to so much anxiety before.

This technique is not a one time fix all, it will take multiple sessions. This gradual process can remove the anxiety from the stressor that was impeding your life and also give you a sense of accomplishment. Set up an appointment with one of our EMDR trained and certified therapists below:

The Therapists:

Jennine Estes

MFT #47653   |   $200 per 50-minute Session
Available Monday – Thursday




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Young Ju

MFT #88568 |$160 per 50-minute session
Available Wednesday Day and Evening



Ida Fariba LMFT


Ida Fariba

MFT #124097 |$175 per 50-minute session
Available Virtually




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Rina Podolsky

MFT #113138 | $190 per 50-minute Session
Available Monday – Thursday. Day and Evenings


Rina ofrece terapia en español.


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