Apr 25, 2023

PTSD Therapy in San Francisco: Combining EMDR and Cognitive Behavioral Techniques

Living with PTSD can be a challenging experience, as sufferers are often left feeling isolated and overwhelmed. Thankfully, PTSD therapy in San Francisco is available to help those affected by this condition. Cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) provide evidence-based approaches to PTSD treatment that effectively reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. By combining these two approaches, therapists in San Francisco can create an individualized PTSD treatment plan tailored specifically to each patient's unique needs. In addition, patients may also benefit from supportive services such as group counseling or trauma-focused psychotherapy. With comprehensive PTSD therapy available in the Bay Area, individuals can begin healing and reclaiming their lives.

Therapy can be a vital component of rehabilitation, whether PTSD symptoms result from one traumatic event or several. By analyzing thinking patterns and behaviors to identify triggers and create coping mechanisms, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) aids patients in understanding how PTSD affects their daily lives. EMDR, on the other hand, uses eye movement, imagery, sound, or tactile stimuli to treat the distressing thoughts and emotions connected to PTSD. Combining the two methods, PTSD therapy in San Francisco offers patients a thorough treatment program aimed at easing symptoms and regaining emotional equilibrium.

What is a traumatic event?

Traumatic incidents can entail sexual violence or actual or potential death or significant injury. Most individuals have encountered at least one traumatic event, and many have gone through multiple traumatic experiences. The recurrence of the same incidents over an extended period characterizes chronic trauma.

Here are a few examples of the many various kinds of traumatic incidents that might occur:

  • Abuse or assault that is sexual or physical
  • Serious vehicle collisions
  • Combat or exposure to a war zone
  • Traumatic medical incidents
  • Observing death or the remains of people, even while at work
  • Sudden loss of a beloved one
  • Natural catastrophes
  • Fires in homes or murder
  • Humiliate
  • Domestic abuse
  • Witnessing or going through a violent event, such as a killing or suicide
  • Terrorism or widespread harm

What usual reactions occur after a distressing event?

Professionals have identified three trajectories that victims of trauma can take:

  • Some folks never have any significant issues. After traumas that do not entail sexual assault or abuse, resistance is relatively prevalent.
  • In the weeks following a trauma, many people experience symptoms like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These symptoms will afterward disappear on their own for the majority of those persons. Natural healing or resilience is what we call this. Many victims of sexual assault follow this course of action.
  • Some people deal with issues that do not resolve themselves. This could result in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What is PTSD, and what are the symptoms

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is an anxiety disorder that results from a traumatic event or series of events. Those affected may experience flashbacks, nightmares, intense negative emotions, and avoidance of situations or places associated with the trauma. PTSD symptoms can be further divided into four categories:

  • Re-experiencing symptoms such as unwanted memories and intrusive thoughts.
  • Avoidance symptoms include avoiding people, places, or activities connected to the traumatic event.
  • Hyperarousal symptoms include difficulty sleeping, irritability, outbursts of anger, hypervigilance, and internal family systems problems.
  • Cognitive/mood symptoms like poor concentration and memory issues.

PTSD can affect both adults and children—a child can develop PTSD if they are a witness to or victim of violence or a natural disaster. PTSD is treatable but often goes undiagnosed, so it is essential to seek professional help if you have any signs or symptoms that might indicate PTSD.

How EMDR therapy works

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of psychotherapy that helps individuals process traumatic events. EMDR combines Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with eye movements, imagery, and sound or tactile stimuli to help reduce PTSD symptoms such as nightmares, panic attacks, hyperarousal, and distress.

The goal of EMDR therapy is to address the memories and emotions associated with a traumatic event to reduce PTSD symptoms. To do this, the therapist will begin by assessing and ensuring the patient has a sense of control during the session. The therapist then uses bilateral stimulation (eye movements or physical vibrations), alternating verbal cues, or guided imagery to help the patient process their feelings about the traumatic event.

The therapist will guide the patient through a focused exploration of the traumatic memories and emotions associated with them. Throughout this exploration, there may be interruptions to pause and assess how the patient feels. The therapist will always emphasize safety, support, and respect so that the patient feels secure while exploring his or her PTSD symptoms.

EMDR therapy is effective for PTSD because it helps individuals identify skills they can use to cope with trauma-related issues such as fear, shame, guilt, depression, numbness, and flashbacks. Over time, EMDR enables individuals to gain insights into their reactions to situations to learn more constructive ways of responding. PTSD therapy in San Francisco is available to help individuals manage PTSD symptoms, and EMDR is an effective treatment for PTSD sufferers.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and EMDR

CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is one form of PTSD therapy used in San Francisco and across the country. CBT focuses on replacing maladaptive behaviors with healthier coping strategies by changing how patients think about their traumatic experiences. For example, suppose fear associated with an event triggers negative emotions when the patient thinks about it. In that case, CBT helps them reframe those thoughts positively, so they are less overwhelmed. Additionally, exposure therapy can be helpful when treating PTSD in San Francisco as it helps patients gradually confront their fears while practicing relaxation techniques to manage anxiety.

In EMDR (eye movement desensitization & reprocessing), a therapist guides clients through a process that includes back-and-forth eye movements while recalling the traumatic events; this helps reduce distress levels associated with PTSD triggers. Finally, group therapy supports PTSD sufferers by connecting them with others who have gone through similar experiences – listening to their stories can help those affected feel less isolated and understand others’ perspectives on trauma therapy.

When looking for PTSD treatment in San Francisco, individuals should speak with their doctor about available options. Working with a mental health provider – someone like Dr.Cammy, explicitly trained in PTSD treatment or a general psychotherapist – will help ensure that each person receives tailored care suited to their individual needs. With proper diagnosis and treatment from experts utilizing evidence-based approaches such as CBT and EMDR combined with supportive services like group counseling, those living with PTSD can make strides toward reclaiming their lives again.

The benefits of combining EMDR and cognitive behavioral therapy

Combining Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be an effective PTSD treatment. Combining the two therapies involves using CBT to help identify beliefs, thoughts, and emotions connected to PTSD symptoms while also using EMDR to reprocess traumatic memories or events.

One of the benefits of combining these two PTSD treatments is that it helps individuals gain a better understanding of their PTSD symptoms. The combination therapy offers insights into PTSD-related issues and positive coping strategies to manage those issues. This approach gives patients a more comprehensive view of their PTSD and how it affects them in different situations.

Another benefit is that combining EMDR with CBT can help PTSD sufferers better identify the sources of their PTSD symptoms. This understanding helps patients learn to identify and address their triggers healthier and more constructively. With this knowledge, PTSD sufferers can focus on developing positive coping strategies tailored to their needs.

Finally, combining EMDR and CBT is beneficial because it allows patients to process trauma-related memories or events more quickly yet still gain insight into how PTSD affects them. By reprocessing traumatic events while also gaining insight into PTSD symptoms, individuals can utilize both therapies collaboratively to reduce PTSD symptoms faster and develop lasting tools for coping with PTSD in their everyday lives.

To lessen the symptoms of PTSD, EMDR therapy for PTSD in San Francisco in conjunction with CBT may be helpful. This method gives PTSD patients a thorough understanding of how PTSD affects them, enables them to identify their PTSD triggers, and teaches them effective coping mechanisms for dealing with Symptomatology in the future. To obtain the most excellent care possible, people should engage with a therapist aware of the advantages of combining EMDR and CBT. Only then will they be able to receive the support they need to recover from PTSD and go on with their lives.

Who can benefit from this type of treatment

Anyone coping with PTSD can benefit from combining EMDR therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a form of PTSD treatment. This combination can be effective in helping PTSD sufferers better understand their symptoms, identify triggers, and develop positive coping strategies to manage PTSD-related issues. People of all ages and backgrounds can utilize this combined approach when working with a mental health provider trained in both therapies. PTSD patients should work closely with their family therapist to ensure the treatment is tailored to their needs.

EMDR therapy and CBT are incredible when used together; however, some individuals may find one type of therapy more beneficial or feel more comfortable with a different approach. PTSD sufferers should discuss their treatment options with a mental health provider to determine which type of PTSD therapy is best for them.


Combining EMDR and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help people with PTSD. This combination sheds light on PTSD-related problems, aids PTSD patients in understanding their symptoms and triggers, and teaches them effective coping mechanisms for dealing with PTSD-related issues. Patients with PTSD should engage closely with a mental health professional to ensure personalized care. Those with PTSD can take steps toward regaining their life again with assistance from therapy and counseling.

At Dr. Cammy’s Clinic, we are committed to providing compassionate PTSD therapy in San Francisco that encourages healing, growth, and improved quality of life. Our approach combines the most effective techniques from CBT and EMDR with supportive services such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and solution-focused therapy to create an individualized treatment plan that focuses on helping patients achieve a more fulfilling life. To learn more about PTSD therapy or schedule an appointment, please get in touch with us today.