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Therapeutic Intensives
"The body remembers what the mind forgets." - Zerka Moreno

Accelerated, Comprehensive Outpatient Therapy

Our Therapeutic Intensives are a unique offering that bridges the gap between residential and outpatient treatment. We are some of the most comprehensively and specially trained providers in trauma therapy in the state of Virginia. Our goal is to accomplish years worth of emotional repair in a way that honors your time, without being cost prohibitive. 

90-Minute Therapeutic Intensives

The formula for the 90 minutes can be broken down into three elements: a warm up, an experience, and a cool down.

 

In the warm up, focus is on rapport, settling into the space, and verbally processing any updates or leftover thoughts from the previous session. This naturally leads into the experiential component of the session, wherein emotional reactivity, dysregulation, and other unwanted symptoms are explored further. Our clients often hear us say, "It doesn't matter what path we take, because we'll get to where we need to go." Here, clients can expect to utilize innovative somatic therapy tools, including EMDR and Internal Family Systems.

Our cool down involves anchoring back into the body, ensuring no one is actively dissociating, wrapping up loose ends, providing education, and making meaning out of the session's experience.

3-Hour Individual Therapeutic Intensives

Individual 3-hour trauma therapy intensives draw more heavily on EMDR protocols than group sessions. Popular EMDR protocols in this format include:

  • Rebooting Emotional Circuitry (by Sandra Paulsen and Katie O'Shea): This protocol is informed by the Pankseppian 7 Basic Emotional Systems and how each system interacts with the release of our brain's natural opioids. By working with our right hemisphere's natural inclination toward imagery, we work to reset our affective circuitry to "factory settings". While this protocol may take several sessions to complete, particularly in the cases of complex trauma, recipients report a sustained state of calm and peace.

  • Early Childhood Trauma (by Sandra Paulsen and Katie O'Shea): Many individuals struggle with some type of trauma that lives without words in their nonverbal memory network. We can access and reprocess those experiences using physiological sensation and imagery. This protocol can sometimes be completed in one session. Recipients often report releasing resentment toward family of origin, gaining clarity over their confusion, feeling less emotionally conflicted, and having a deeper understanding of themselves. 

  • Trauma Node Isolation (by Barry Litt, LMFT): Adrienne Loker, LCSW is one of the only clinicians in the state of Virginia with training in this protocol. It combines EMDR standard protocol, Somatic Experiencing, Internal Family Systems, and Brainspotting. Instead of desensitizing both eyes, nine zones in each eye are desensitized separately to ensure that the trauma node has effectively been resolved. This approach can easily be utilized with specific traumas, such as a major car accident. However, this approach is specifically designed for individuals who have metaphorically been in multiple car accidents every single day of their lives. Instead of narrowing down to one accident at a time, we address the embodied state of fear.

  • Eye Gaze (by Barry Litt, LMFT): Building off of the above protocol, the Eye Gaze taps into the attachment seeking energy of the participant by working directly from clinician and client's mammalian brains. Survivors of attachment trauma (adoption, premature birth, neglect, etc.) may find this approach rewarding. 

Group Intensives

Families, couples, and group trauma therapy intensives are offered six hours at a time, with a one hour break in between. Intensives with more than one participant will incorporate more action based methods with somatic therapy interventions. Instead of sitting around and talking problems out, we are going to bypass the cognitive part of the brain by being with the memory of the body.

Often times, families and groups come in wanting to "hash out" all the destructive behaviors from the past. Usually, this just ends up with some members of the group acting out in anger while others just shut down and withdraw. Instead of focusing on what happened, participants are invited to notice what's happening now. In the now, we will discover where each member is operating from in their autonomic nervous system (ie. fight energy, flight energy, or freeze energy). 

Instead of reviewing resentments, we explore how to strengthen the part of the nervous system responsible for social engagement and connection. In this process, we are exercising in real time the neurological pathways that will allow individuals to feel safe with each other. Without this critical process, no productivity will come from exploration of the fight, flight, or freeze energy.

What can be addressed in a Therapeutic Intensive?

  • Complex trauma (dissociation and dissociative disorders, childhood trauma, relational trauma, developmental trauma)

  • Shock trauma (direct experience of or witnessing an immediate life threatening event)

  • Vicarious trauma (first responders, therapists, teachers, and other high stress vocations)

  • Collective trauma (an event experienced by a group together)

  • Family conflict resolution (families with histories of sexual trauma, alcoholism, drug addiction, incarceration)

  • Group cohesion and team building

  • And so much more! Call and ask!

How often do I need to have an Intensive?

It is encouraged that 90-minute intensives meet weekly for the first month to establish momentum and deepen new neurological pathways with more ease. Between the 2-4 session mark, participants begin to develop a deeper insight into their symptoms and behaviors. Between 3-6 months, participants often feel drastic relief, and may choose to continue treatment for the ongoing support, decide to address other areas of concern, or feel they're ready to discharge. For more complex trauma cases, it's natural to remain in treatment for longer.

 

As clients transition from primary care (needing more frequent sessions) to maintenance care (needing less frequent sessions), it's common for individuals to slowly decrease their session frequency rather than terminate abruptly. 

 

For 3-hour intensives, recipients will notice change after one session. For some, that's enough, and for others, they may wish to schedule more. Most individuals will complete at least three 3-hour sessions to fully address a piece of work, typically space 4-6 weeks apart. Three hour intensives can easily be utilized to augment the work with a traditional outpatient therapist, or it can be utilized as a stand alone service. 

Six hour intensives provide at least a year's worth of couples, group, or family therapy in one session. These sessions can be facilitated two days in a row, for a total of 12 hours, or can be spaced apart months at a time. It is highly recommended that to integrate the clinical work effectively, participants of this service continue working with a primary therapist following the session.

A Typical Format

Creating safety...

...Listening to the body...

...Integrating the work.

In traditional outpatient therapy, it can take at least 4 sessions to feel comfortable or safe in the therapeutic relationship. Relational safety is the foundation of clinical work. Through various exercises, we create a felt-sense of security to invite vulnerability.

Most pathology can be attributed to how humans avoid what their body is telling them. We will learn how to slow down and tune in to what is happening in real time, rather than explain it away.

We focus on the mind and the body. We will spiral into the somatic narrative, and then into the consciousness where context and meaning can be attributed. 

Have more questions?
Give us a call:
804-203-2100

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