January 2, 2018 Advocacy, Breaking Barriers in DV, Domestic Violence and Disabilities Tags: 0 Comments

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Contributor Gabrielle is a Social Worker (LMSW) at Barrier Free Living’s Secret Garden Non-Residential Domestic Violence Program. Gabrielle began her work at Secret Garden as a social work intern in 2014. After graduating with her Master’s Degree she joined the team. Gabrielle is currently enrolled in the Trauma Studies Program at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy and will soon be certified in the specialized therapy approach outlined in the article below. 

It can be difficult to find a good therapist in New York City. Even if you’re lucky enough to find someone you work well with, there may also be the added barrier of cost; especially if you need or desire a specialized therapy.

One type of specialized therapy that can be used for trauma survivors (like survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault) is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR is an effective and evidence based therapy.

Barrier Free living’s Secret Garden program has two members who are certified in this therapy. While EMDR can cost anywhere from $150 to $200 a session in out of pocket expenses (if insurance doesn’t cover the therapy or if someone is not insured) Secret Garden is able to offer this service for no cost.

One person who participates in EMDR at Secret Garden described EMDR as sometimes being “emotionally and physically exhausting” but that they always “get a good night’s sleep after participating in EMDR.” This person also described sometimes feeling “very happy in an almost euphoric state” after their EMDR sessions and added that “I really feel like EMDR is helping me to recover from my traumatic experiences more than just talk therapy alone.”

Any survivor of domestic violence who has a disability (a documented or undocumented disability) is eligible for services at Secret Garden. Prospective clients please call our hotline: (212) 533-4358 to schedule an intake session.

The following description is from EMDR Institute Inc.:
“EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.”
See how EMDR works by watching this video.

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