Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing in addiction therapy

What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of therapy 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 therapy that once took years to make a difference. Developed in 1989 by Dr. Francine Shapiro, EMDR is only now starting to gain popularity across the United States as a reliable treatment method for healing addiction.

How Does EMDR Work?

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.

What Kind of Problems Can EMDR Treat?

Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for post-traumatic stress. However, clinicians have also reported success using EMDR in treatment of other conditions. For example, we now know EMDR to be effective in treating addictions, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, grief, pain disorders, eating disorders, abuse, low self-confidence, and much more.

Why EMDR in Addiction Treatment?

The main reason addiction experts believe EMDR treatment is effective when treating addiction is because trauma seems to play a major role in addiction related issues. Studies show that many people who struggle with addiction also have a history of trauma. Many believe the addiction and the trauma are connected. For example, perhaps the client is addicted because he/she is looking to numb the pain of the trauma. Because EMDR has been proven to be effective for treating trauma, it stands to reason that a client struggling with addiction could benefit from EMDR. EMDR also offers methods to directly target addiction related cravings and behaviors. These methods seek to desensitize clients to the cravings and empower them to choose different behaviors.

How Do We Integrate EMDR?

At Arise Recovery Centers, we understand the link between addiction and trauma. We also understand the effectiveness of using EMDR as a tool to reduce cravings/behaviors directly. We have trained EMDR therapists at every location. EMDR is a service we can provide weekly, in addition to weekly individual sessions, when deemed clinically appropriate.

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