Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a specialized form of therapy that helps patients work through trauma with specific, sporadic visual stimulation. To put it in layman’s terms, EMDR therapy works by identifying and recognizing patterns in people’s eye movements. Certain memories may trigger specific types of eye movements. By stimulating vision while a person remembers a traumatic incident, it’s possible to reprocess how the memory is stored and to reduce any feelings of anxiety, stress, or negative emotions that come with it.
EMDR therapy has been proven to be effective in reducing negative reactions and triggers. It has also been very effective in helping individuals address and recover from trauma, which is often an underlying issue for those struggling with substance use disorder. At Grace Counseling, EMDR therapy is just one form of treatment we offer.
How Do EMDR Therapy and Addiction Treatment Work Together?
EMDR therapy is a form of addiction treatment. By reducing the body’s trauma response, the hope is that the individual will be better able to cope with their past trauma and respond more appropriately and healthily when those memories come up.
EMDR is particularly well-known to assist with post-traumatic stress disorder. However, it can be a painful process because patients have to recall triggering memories.
How Is Addiction Related to Trauma?
It is believed that addiction is related to past trauma. Whether that trauma happened yesterday or twenty years ago, it may still impact a person’s life now.
Many people who struggle with addiction do have post-traumatic stress disorder from past trauma. Without treatment, PTSD can lead to many symptoms that are difficult to live with, like:
- Night terrors
- Invasive thoughts
How Long Does an EMDR Treatment Take?
EMDR therapy consists of just eight sessions. These are broken down into sessions, including:
- Phase 1: Recognizing emotional distress
- Phase 2: Stress reduction techniques and imagery
- Phase 3 through 6: Identifying negative self-beliefs, bringing up vivid visuals, and related emotions
- Phase 7 and 8: Learning calming techniques and reviewing progress
The nice thing about EMDR therapy is that it is approached from a place where the therapist is already informed about the patient’s trauma or at least the idea of what occurred. They can then work with that patient specifically to find the root cause of their triggers and the factors that may contribute to ongoing addiction.
What Happens During EMDR Therapy?
During a session, the therapist talks to the patient and recalls a traumatic experience that they’ve gone through. They are asked to reflect on that experience while talking to the therapist and following the therapist’s hand motions with their eyes.
The movements could be anything from the therapist moving a hand back and forth in the patient’s visual field or wiggling their fingers to make the patient focus.
The eye movement therapy breaks down the eye movements into jerky motions known as saccadic eye movements. It’s believed that these movements help reprocess the past trauma and curb the emotional response that might otherwise be experienced.
EMDR also includes other kinds of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or talk therapy, so patients should be aware of that when they decide to begin a program with a therapist they trust.
Get More Information on EMDR Therapy and Addiction Treatment with Grace Counseling
At Grace Counseling, we know that many people with addictions have a difficult time with recovery. We want to make the process as simple and comfortable as possible. We offer mental health counseling, addiction counseling, family therapy, holistic therapy, and EMDR for addiction that can help you or someone you love on the road to recovery. Call us today at 844.564.0712, or contact us online to find out more about how we can help with this special form of mental health and addiction treatment.