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  • Kristy McConnell, R. Psych.

Ophelia's Journey to Confidence with EMDR Intensive Therapy

Ophelia is in her late-30s and feels like she should be at a different place in her life. She describes herself as an introvert and a chronic people pleaser. It is easy to see that she is likely a safe-place to land for her friends and family. She has a gentle sweet nature about her, and although cautious, when she opens up you learn that she has some super cool qualities, if only she could see them and share them with those around her. Ophelia wants to be sure of herself. She wants to feel confident about who she is and take risks in her career. She wants to feel good about the skin she’s in and wear her quirky outfits with her shoulders back. Ophelia doesn’t want to be scared to take up space. 

EMDR Intensive Journal

Therapy with Limited Schedule Disruption

Ophelia came to therapy having tried a few different approaches and therapists over the years. Her friend mentioned EMDR intensive therapy, and had heard they were a way to receive a lot of therapy in a short period of time in order to see change and growth quickly. This appealed to Ophelia because she didn’t like the idea of having to take time off work biweekly in order to commit to regular therapy sessions, but she knew she needed to invest in her mental health. Taking a few days off would be easier than taking random hours during many days. 

Ophelia wasn’t sure about EMDR therapy or what it was, but upon searching online, Ophelia saw that it was being effectively used to treat things like anxiety, depression, and self-esteem. It wasn’t just for veterans, first responders, or survivors of motor vehicle collisions any longer. She decided to reach out to find out more. 

The Process of Booking Intensive Therapy 

Ophelia scheduled a screening call for an intensive therapy package. She had gone through the website, and knew that she wasn’t in crisis and had good support if she needed it. She also understood that an intensive was not a quick fix, but saw its potential to help her get moving in the right direction. She was a good candidate for intensive therapy. Collaboratively, we decided that a 2 day intensive would likely be the best option for her. This was because she knew there was some childhood ‘stuff’ that sometimes pops up for her, in addition to her hopes of improved self-esteem and lessening of anxious symptoms. We decided to do a 90 minute intake on day one, followed by lunch and then a 3 hour session. For the second session day, we decided to do 2 hours, a break, and then another 2 hours. She received her OBP Intensive Therapy Journal and prepped for her sessions by booking the days off of work, and scheduling a massage for herself after the 2nd day as a way to honor the work she did. After about a few weeks, we thought it would be good to do a 60 minute integration session to see how things had landed.

During Intensive Therapy

At the intake, Ophelia discussed her past, present, and hopes for the future. She identified the folks in her life that are helpful to her. We developed some helpful tools and strategies that she could use as resources, and we prepped her for the intensive sessions. During the intensives, Ophelia worked through past experiences of bullying in school, moments where her parents were not able to be there for her in the way that she needed because of the things they were going through. We also processed through some imposter syndrome she had at work when it came to her abilities to be a leader, but hesitancy to step forward. She began to make connections with how she worked hard through school despite what was happening to her, and found her other wallflowers. She began to integrate and appreciate the ways she adapted to her experiences, and what she wanted to keep and let go of. A theme that kept coming up for Ophelia was that she used to see her uniqueness as a deficit, but slowly, through the process of the intensive, she began to like that about herself. She saw it as an asset through the work she does, the relationships she has, and how knowing that about herself will benefit her in the future. 

When the Intensive Sessions Were Complete

A few weeks later, Ophelia came in for her integration session. She had completed her OBP Intensive Journal, where she had recorded insights after she had time for reflection. She noticed that she was able to put some boundaries in for herself and others. She stopped working so much for free, and even said no to a colleague who used to get her to do a lot of tasks that were not her job. This needed a bit of extra support for feelings that came up around ‘letting people down’. She remembered that this tendency came from a place of taking care of others when she was younger to keep things calm in her environment. We set up a way for Ophelia to know if it was time to come back for a top-up session. 

Ophelia Now

Ophelia emailed a few months later. She had transitioned to a new role at a new company. She was excited about the new position and felt like the fresh start allowed her to put in place supportive boundaries from the beginning. She shared that she had joined a book club and started sharing more with others without fear of judgment. Ophelia shared that she now knows that she can weather challenges that come her way. She shared that she still had days where she struggled to feel confident and self assured, but learned to have self compassion on hard days. Ophelia also knew she could return when needed and was still utilizing some of the resources we created in session together. 

Ophelia's journey through EMDR intensive therapy exemplifies the transformative power of focused, condensed therapeutic approaches, enabling her to embrace her uniqueness, set boundaries, and pursue her aspirations with newfound courage, self-assurance, and self-compassion.

*Ophelia is a fictional character created based on many of OBP’s incredible clients that we have worked with over the years. Confidentiality is very important to us at OBP and is an important part of the experience of therapy. 


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