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Who benefits from this service?


Many people could benefit including, victims of natural and manmade disasters; sexual assault victims; those experiencing excessive grief due to complicated deaths such as, in-the-line-of-duty deaths; combat veterans; police, fire, and EMS; victims of crime; those involved in an accident; witness to violence; those who have been diagnosed with a major illness, such as cancer; workplace accident; those who have a loved one who has been involved in a major disturbing event; or any individual who seems unable to move forward from a disturbing event. 


Why Group EMDR?


EMDR is a well-researched and effective treatment for trauma on any level, no matter how small or big.  Group EMDR can reach many people at one time and can keep each individual's experience completely private. If a group format is utilized, individual sessions will be offered afterwards for the participants who need more individualized treatment.  This is typically no more than 30% of the group.  


How does EMDR help the brain?


Another way to see the EMDR process and how it helps is to imagine that your brain and its memory networks are a network of streams and rivers. When a traumatic event happens, it is almost like a beaver dam has been constructed somewhere within the network, which can send the entire network into panic mode. The water gets backed up and overflows, which can affect areas that don’t seem connected to the network with the block.


In the case of trauma, it is the emotion, memories, body sensations, thoughts, and beliefs that are overflowing and not getting where they need to go. EMDR’s main objective is to address and remove the beaver dam, or block, so that the brain can process. Removing blocks essentially helps the brain to tap into its own ability to heal itself.


Why would someone need EMDR?


It is common to feel hopeless after experiencing a traumatic event. Trauma affects how the brain functions. It can physically change the brain and make people feel that they are not themselves any longer. Activities that were once simple and automatic become difficult or feel downright impossible. Fortunately, individual and group EMDR are very effective for this.


What is EMDR & how does it work?


EMDR is Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing.  It is based on an 8-stage model.  EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information through bilateral stimulation, similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep with non-traumatic events and memories.


Once normal information processing is resumed following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting.


What should EMDR-group participants expect?


  1. Each individual that is interested in participating will call Nikki Penn Counseling & Consulting, PLLC at 870-793-0071 and set up a time to be pre-screened.  If the individual is considered an appropriate candidate for the intervention, non-refundable payment will be taken over the phone via credit card.  The person will be given time to ask any questions he/she may have.  He or she will also be taught self-soothing techniques to practice before the group convenes. 

  2. Participants will show up at the determined place and time for the EMDR group.  Each group will be approximately 90 minutes long and will consist of 3 meeting times.  The three-90 minute sessions will either be held on consecutive days or all in one day.  After each session, a mini “brain break” will be provided to help the participants lower stress levels before moving into the next session or leaving the premises.

  3. Group participants are not required to share their stories with other participants at any time during the group.  The work will be done privately through guided bilateral stimulation and a worksheet.

  4. Participants can choose which form of bilateral stimulation works best for him/her: eye movements or self-tapping. 

  5. At the end of the final session, if the disturbance level does not drop below a 3, the client will be consulted on the following steps to take. 



What are contraindications for group-EMDR?

(Individual EMDR is still an option)


The following situations cause individuals to need a longer more client-specific evaluation and treatment protocol than group EMDR typically provides:

  1. If the client is currently suicidal.

  2. If the client is diagnosed with a Dissociative Identity Disorder.

  3. If the client has life-threatening substance abuse.

  4. If the client is engaged in self-harm.

  5. If the client is involved in serious assaultive behavior.

  6. If we are unable to teach the client how to decrease distress, stay in the present, and self-sooth. 


If you have any questions, you may contact the EMDR clinician by calling

870-793-0071, or email


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