EMDR and Weeds

EMDR and Weeds

EMDR and Weeds

One of the things I love about gardening is weeding. Does that surprise you? 

Of course I love seeing the green stems pushing through the dirt and the colorful spray of flowers that eventually come from those stems…but weeding…it’s my favorite part about gardening in the early Spring months.

Here’s a picture of my small flower bed before weeding:

Picture of a flower garden in early Spring overrun with weeds. How EMDR therapy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania can heal trauma and seed a beautiful garden

The ground around our house is tough. It’s hard and full of clay. When we first moved in, I pounded at the clay dirt, fighting to get just a little patch of ground that I could put flowers in. I filled it with compost from our local recycling center in Fairmount Park and worked it into the clay earth.

Eventually I was able to plant some flowers, and looked at it with pride every Spring.

As a new gardener, I was never sure if something was a weed or a perennial plant sprouting up in the spring. They all looked alike to me. I’m sure I pulled many a perennial plant by accident.

Through the years, though, I’ve learned what the predominant weeds are in my part of Philadelphia. I’ve learned how to distinguish them by the shape of their leaves. Nowadays, they’re easier to distinguish than my perennials. 

EMDR and Weeds: What does one have to do with the other?

Angela, you may be thinking to yourself, what in the heck does this have to do with EMDR? Well, dear reader, the weeds in my garden are like the negative thoughts, beliefs and traumatic memories that fill our lives. I know for myself, if I don’t tend to my brain and heart garden, it will eventually become overrun with unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, and undealt with disturbing memories. 

Oftentimes if I’ve been paying attention and tending to my needs, I can talk to myself, not give too much weight to the unhelpful thoughts and beliefs, reframe them and self soothe myself in some way. On the other hand, if I haven’t given myself space to tend to my needs, my garden becomes hopelessly overrun with weeds and smothers the flowers trying to bloom. 

Dirty pair of gardening gloves. EMDR therapy in Philadelphia, PA available to reprocess trauma

What is the State of Your Garden?

Can you relate? Can we pause for a moment and check in? What is the state of your garden? Does your mind and heart feel clear and open? 

Or do they feel dark, crowded and suffocating? 

Is there space for the hopeful buds to bloom and grow?

How Weeding and the process of EMDR are similar

The clients I’ve had the privilege of working with have avoided looking at their gardens for so long that they forget about the perennial flowers that try year after year to bloom.

They have lived with the weeds of self blame, shame, and feeling broken for so long that they can’t imagine there is another way to think, feel or believe.

Some of the weeds that feel 100% true to them:

  • I’m broken.
  • It’s all my fault.
  • I’m helpless.
  • No one will ever love me.
  • No one is trustworthy.

When I work with clients using EMDR,  whether we’re meeting once a week for an hour, or scheduling an EMDR intensive for several hours at a time, we work collaboratively. We make a plan for what weeds we’re going to pull and in what order. 

One thing I’ve learned is that when you pull weeds, you need to grasp the weed at the very base near the dirt and pull out slowly in order to get the roots.

EMDR and reprocessing trauma is like that too. We want to make sure to understand the root of the issue and reprocess from that place, not the surface issue.

If trust has been established and clients are ready and willing to look at the root causes from the past that are showing up in the present, it’s a beautiful process to witness them becoming free.

The old weeds that felt 100% true can shift to:

  • I’m not broken. My experience was broken and I’m acceptable (or I’m learning to accept myself)
  • I did the best I could at the time.
  • I am strong. I have choices
  • I am loved (or I’m learning to receive love)
  • Some people can be trusted. I am safe right now and have the ability to protect myself.

When the weeds of old beliefs and experiences are cleared, we pay attention to the flowers that have been there all along.

We tend to these promising new beliefs by watering them, fertilizing them, mulching around them. I’ve seen how these promising flowers have just waited for the space and right conditions to bloom and take up the space they were meant to.

Here’s a picture of my flower bed after weeding:

Picture of a flower bed in Philadelphia after it has been weeded. EMDR therapy in PA

Another thing I know about weeds? Pull them early. One little tug and the root pulls out effortlessly. Don’t wait until they’re waist high. It takes so much longer and way more effort and energy to pull a weed that’s been ignored.

The same is true of traumatic events and experiences. The longer you wait to clear them out, the more entrenched they get. 

Start EMDR Therapy in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware

If you’re curious what it might look like to work together and weed the garden of your mind and heart with EMDR, contact us today for a free 20 minute consultation.

If you live in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Delaware, we can provide EMDR or EMDR intensives online. Or if you’d like to do EMDR in person, come to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for an EMDR intensive.

As a therapist at Prosper Counseling, I am here to guide you on your journey to healing. Follow the steps below to get started.


  1. Get to know more about me here.
  2. Use the convenient online contact form to set up a consultation.
  3. Set up your first appointment and begin healing!
9 Places to Move and Connect with Nature in Philadelphia, PA

9 Places to Move and Connect with Nature in Philadelphia, PA

9 Places to Move and Connect with Nature in Philadelphia, PA

by  | Mar 11, 2023 | Uncategorized

It’s 2023 y’all. Who here enjoys the reflection and intention setting that comes with a new year?

Hand raised over here. One of my main intentions in 2023 is to connect with nature in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.

In the past few years, I’ve come to really enjoy setting personal and work intentions at the beginning of a year or quarter. Nothing complicated or even very specific, but something to act as a compass for my year.  

One of my intentions for the new year is to continue to integrate movement into my day. Being an EMDR therapist entails a lot of sitting still which means that I have to be really intentional about moving my body.

One of the ways I fulfill this intention is to take walks – some days they’re only around the block and other days I plan on longer walks in a green space. 

Group of backpacking friends hiking on a trail in the woods. Feeling anxious or depressed? Dealing with past trauma? Online therapy in Pennsylvania can help.

Here are some of my favorite spots to walk and connect with nature in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

The Woodlands Cemetery 

Every time I walk past the gates into the cemetery grounds I feel a smile on my face and my body relaxes as I take in the trees, flowers and birds. Stepping away from the street and on to the grounds, I find myself frequently saying, “Hello Trees.” In the Spring, the flowers are beautiful and the place is full of life.


Bartram’s Garden

This is another favorite spot of mine. There’s a path to walk along the river and plenty of native plants to enjoy. If you haven’t taken a ride on the swing – it’s a definite “must do” if you can be patient and wait for a turn!


John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum

Back in the days when my knees allowed me to run, I trained for the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia here. Nowadays I walk the loop and enjoy the trees, the water, the blue herons and the turtles. This is a great place to ride your bike too.  There’s a great boardwalk over the water where you can sit and bask in the sun like the turtles! If you’re a photographer, you’ll be in good company with the other nature loving photographers. 


The Wissahickon Valley Park

This is such a gem in Philadelphia. When I was first taken here over 20 years ago, I was taken aback that we were still in the city. When all the trees have their leaves, it’s a green oasis in the gorge. There are so many trails here that you can explore. If you want some hills to get your heart rate up, you can find one here. I also really enjoy walking the wide, relatively flat trail next to the creek, especially if I’m with a friend and catching up. 



Three friends walking in the woods, smiling and laughing. Don't let past trauma disconnect you from people you care about. Online EMDR therapy in Pennsylvania can help.

Schuylkill River Trail

Walking, running, biking, rowing, scooting – you’ll see all kinds of activities happening along the Schuylkill. You can rent bikes at Lloyd Hall or just walk along the river. You can pick the trail up at different points along the city and beyond. I’m looking forward to when they connect the trail to Bartram Gardens.


Fairmount Park Trails

I just walked the Lemon Hill Rim Trail recently and it felt good to seek out and explore new trails in Fairmount Park. This is one of my intentions – to seek out new walking paths in and around the city. 


Manayunk Canal

These last three places are walks that I plan to take, but haven’t been on yet. One of my children explores this canal regularly with friends and I’ve been meaning to walk along the canal as well. The Google reviews have some lovely photos and there are plenty of restaurants on Main Street to grab a bite before or after your walk!


Awbury Arboretum 

This was a former estate of a Quaker family which is now open to the public and free to explore from dawn to dusk. It’s located in Germantown, Philadelphia. I’m looking forward to exploring the farm and Adventure Woods!


Benjamin Rush State Park

This park is located in Northeast Philadelphia and is the only state park located within the city boundary. I used to live in this section of the city and am embarrassed to say that I’ve never been here. The longest trail here is 3.2 miles, perfect for a longer walk and I’m looking forward to visiting it soon!

Barefoot individual walking in the woods representing the successful EMDR journey to healing trauma. EMDR therapy in New Jersey is a journey that will teach you the skills needed to overcome and process past trauma so your future is bright!

Walking and spending time in nature is a great way to improve or sustain your mental health and physical health. If you walk with a friend, that’s adding the connection piece which has also been shown to be essential for a happy life. However, if human relationships feel too unsafe or complicated at any point, connect with nature and feel the sustenance from that relationship. It’s the perfect way to start 2023.

Start EMDR Therapy in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware

If walking in nature isn’t enough to maintain a sense of wellbeing, you might be interested in EMDR Therapy. It is proven to be highly successful in processing and healing past distressing events. If you are struggling to live your best life because you are stuck in the cycle of reliving the past, we can help. At Prosper Counseling our therapists are here to guide you on your journey to healing. Follow the steps below to get started.

  1. Get to know more about me here.
  2. Use the convenient online contact form to set up a consultation.
  3. Set up your first appointment and begin healing!
Angela Sim-Laramee, LCSW

Angela Sim-Laramee, LCSW

EMDR Therapist

Angela is a Certified EMDR Therapist who loves working with adults who want to clear any unfinished business with their childhood trauma and other distressing life events.

She is able to provide therapy to individuals in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. When she’s not walking outside in nature, you can find her reading, drinking fair trade French Roast coffee, or engrossed in a Kdrama series.