Listen to this week’s episode of Notice That to hear the hosts discuss how to use EMDR within couples therapy.

EMDR & Couples Therapy 

  • Remember, safety remains the most important 
  • It can take longer for us to establish this with multiple people 
  • Especially considering that couples may lack trust with each other
  • It’s important to take the specific situation into account.
  • In other words, is the couple there for marriage counseling or has a client brought in their spouse?
  • Clients sometimes don’t think about the physical vulnerability that they will feel 
  • So it can be helpful to discuss this ahead of time 
  • It can be beneficial to have the partner be part of the processing
  • Additionally, the partner may benefit from seeing their partner in a place of vulnerability and sincerity
  • Rather than seeing them through hurt and fear from their conflicts 
  • Sometimes it can be messy and painful, but it is real 
  • It can be very helpful for both partners to share their experiences and receive insight
  • Traditionally, the goal of couple’s therapy is to keep the couple together
  • But that shouldn’t be the goal unless the couple explicitly says that
  • Therefore, it is not necessarily a failure of treatment if the couple does not remain together 

“There is a very real possibility of discovering that the marriage is a strategy that has been birthed out of trauma, and healing will actually mean that they are ready to release that relationship” (21:10)

The 8 phase protocol & Couples Therapy

“Without the resourcing, we’re never going to get to the processing, and if we try it’s going to be messy” (24:29).

  • The process is individualized and always changing
  • Therefore, it doesn’t look one certain way.
  • Remain open to the possibility that it may be necessary to see them individually
  • With the understanding that it’s possible to bring them back together once safety is established.
  • Finding a special memory that partners can share can provide connection. 
  • After history taking, try to create a sense of partnership and motivation
  • Then, you can start to address the trauma 
  • It’s important to ask what happened between the couple
  • However, it’s also important to ask what happened to the couple 

Examples of EMDR & Couples Therapy

  • Bridger discusses a client story (14:14)
  • Jen discusses a client story (16:24)
  • Bridger’s client example (30:25)
  • Bridger talks about a client (37:01)
  • Jen’s story from a couple’s retreat ( 43:45)


  • It can be a very powerful experience 
  • The goal is to heal, regardless of the specific outcome for the couple 
  • Let go of assumptions and be open to all possibilities 

Did you know?  After full completion of Beyond Healing Institute’s Somatic Integration and Processing training, each participant can receive 21 NBCC hours. 

Beyond Healing Center

Beyond Healing Media

Interested in supporting a child? 

  • 100% of the proceeds donated to the Burntout Educator will provide therapy for a child in the public school system
  • Not therapy capped at a certain number, but an open-ended relationship with a highly qualified therapist in the BHC network. 

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Executive Directors: Jennifer and Ryan Savage, Melissa Bentinnedi, Bridger Falkenstein
Hosts: Jennifer Savage, Melissa Benintendi, and Bridger Falkenstein
Filmographer: Tyler Wassam
Podcast Producer: Jamie Eggert
Original Music Composers: Bridger Falkenstein and Caleb Boston
Show Notes: Jordan Murray-Harper