EMDR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is primarily used in treating trauma that led to your addiction. EMDR therapy is a form of psychotherapy which allows individuals to clear their minds of emotional distress. EMDR makes the addiction treatment process much faster and more effective.

The Recovery Team uses EMDR therapy at our addiction treatment center to help patients recover from past traumas. This form of psychotherapy is proven to reduce the negative side effects of stress related to bad experiences and trauma. Through EMDR use, studies show that when the brain’s functioning system is harmed by traumatic events or negative experiences, the level of functioning will continue to get worse as time goes on.

If the brain’s functioning system continues to stay blocked or harmed, one’s emotional distress will only get worse. The truth of the matter is, this will only continue to grow one’s addiction to drugs or alcohol.

As a result, it’s safe to say that trauma plays a large role in substance abuse, addiction, and mental health. However, EMDR is designed to help patients reboot their brain’s natural healing process.  

What Causes Trauma?

There isn’t one defying factor that causes trauma in humans. Trauma can come from a variety of different experiences, and can be very personal depending on the unique situation. The following are common situations that can cause trauma:

  • Death 
  • Freak accident 
  • Divorse 
  • Loss of job 
  • Loss of place to live 
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse

The list above is just examples of experiences that can cause trauma. Trauma can come from a variety of things and is different for each individual.

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Eight-Phase of EMDR Therapy Treatment

EMDR therapy breaks down each patient’s past, present, and future self. In doing so the client will be able to clearly identify a past cause of distress, a present cause of distress, and how to handle similar situations in the future. EMDR therapy is an eight-phase method including the following stages:

Phase 1: Treatment Plan
During this phase, the therapist will assess the client and create an individualized EMDR treatment plan. Here, the client and therapist will work together to identify any situations in the past or present that cause the client emotional distress. During phase 1, the client will gain insight on their situation and develop specific skills that will allow them to eliminate their emotional discomfort and change their behaviors.  

Phase 2: Handling Emotional Distress
Phase 2 of EMDR treatment involves the client learning several different ways to handle their emotional distress. The therapist will teach a variety of stress reducing techniques the client will be able to use for the rest of their lives. The client should practice these techniques between each session. 

Phase 3: Memory Specific
It is typical that in the third phase of EMDR therapy, a specific memory is identified and targeted by the client and therapist. The following three phases identify this situation in three separate ways, all three being important information for the client to know. 

Phase 4: Identifying Event
In phase 4, the client will visually describe and identify the event they chose to focus on. Describing the event in this way will allow the client to identify the negative feelings and emotions tied to the event. In addition, the client and therapist will work together to create several coping strategies for the client to use. 

Phase 5: Negative Self-Belief
Pertaining to addiction treatment, clients tend to talk negatively about themselves. For example, thoughts and feelings such as not being worthy enough, or that nobody cares about them, are common negative self-beliefs. During phase 5, the client will identify their negative self-belief. It is important that these thoughts are identified and written down, so that they no longer live inside the brain.

Phase 6: Understanding Negative Emotions
In phase 6, the client goes on to identify the negative emotions and physical sensations that resulted from the event. Negative emotions include the feelings of anxiety, fear, sadness, depression, lack of hope, distress, and more. Physical sensations that result from these negative emotions include headaches, chest tightening, trembling, difficult breathing or swallowing and more. During this phase the client will identify their negative emotions and work with the therapist to come up with solutions for each emotion.

Phase 7: Finding Closure
Being mindful of your self worth and your progress is a key factor in EMDR therapy. The client may be asked to keep a log of their behaviors and thoughts between each session. In this phase, the client will work on finding closure by analyzing any recurring patterns, their ability to address these patterns, and anything else they may still need to work on.

Phase 8: Progress / Future Planning
Phase 8 is the final stage of EMDR therapy where clients examine their progress and make plans for the future. During this phase the client and therapist will work together and analyze the patients progress. If needed, EMDR therapy can continue on after this phase. The overall goal is that each patient has their own set of new coping skills designed to eliminate any negative behaviors or thoughts without the use of substances. 

EMDR therapy is a great way to help your brain and body heal from any traumatic experiences. Individuals will learn a new way of coping without drugs or alcohol, and heal their brain’s ability to function. When emotional scars are healed, it allows you to be able to truly live and enjoy your life again. 

The Recovery Team offers EMDR therapy for those struggling with mental health trauma and substance abuse addiction. We want to help you or a loved one recover from your traumas today. We look forward to hearing from you!  

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