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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), was first intended to help those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It was intended to help these individuals decrease symptoms associated with traumatic memories.

It has now been incorporated into various psychotherapies, helping many of our clients reprocess tough memories. This helps them face any potential trauma or abuse, allowing them to heal. Once they heal on a psychological level, they can heal on a more physical level. This is an important step regarding one’s road to recovery.

What Is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing?

This unconventional psychotherapy helps increase the rate at which individuals recover memories. Clients have discovered that their bodies are able to heal both physical and mental wounds. This therapy believes that our brain naturally gravitates towards more positive mental health. We provide the tools that our clients need to reach a more balanced mental state.

The founder of this therapy Dr. Francine Shapiro, states that trauma creates changes within the brain’s communication network. This results in memories being locked away, as they were not processed correctly. This plays on one’s psychological health. When you target these memories, you’re able to relieve symptoms associated with various physical and mental ailments.

REM or repetitive eye movements, may by the brain’s natural way to process and desensitize traumatic events and disturbing memories. These memories can create continuous feelings of anxiety and fear. It’s important that addicts focus on traumatic events, so that they do not continue to self-medicate and relapse.

This therapy has had great success amongst trauma victims. Several studies have been published, revealing positive results. In one study, 90% of victims no longer experienced symptoms of PTSD after taking part in three sessions. These results are seen across various studies, which is encouraging for our clients.

How Does EMDR Relate to Addiction?

Many of our clients have experienced some sort of trauma in their lives. This has lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, guilt, and panic. When our clients use drugs, alcohol, or even sex; they can help control these traumatic feelings. This is the only way that they know how to relieve themselves from the stress they feel.

Substance abuse alone, creates negative affects on one’s health and physiological systems. When you add high levels of stress and anxiety, clients increase their risk of hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and high cholesterol. EDMR can help target these symptoms, creating a more positive outcome.

There’s a direct link to trauma and substance abuse. Up to 75% of those individuals that survive a violent event, develop alcoholism. That is a extremely high percentage. The same is true for war veterans. Up to 80% of Vietnam War veterans who experienced PTSD, developed alcoholism within their lives.

When EDMR is incorporated into treatment, we help our clients deal with these traumatic events. If you have experienced something traumatic, it doesn’t need to control your life any longer. At WCA Rehab, we have the resources and tools you need to create a more positive life for you and your loved ones.

What Can I Expect From This Treatment?

This treatment is often fairly foreign to our clients. However, it is becoming more and more widely accepted. We helps our clients focus on the past, present, and future, as we address tough memories that occurred in their past. We also discuss future memories, in terms of what the client thinks will happen to them. When you take part in this therapy, you can expect eight different stages:

Stage One: A professional will assess the client’s trauma, creating the most effective treatment plan. This will incorporate both coping and behavioral skills. If there are multiple traumas to assess, clients may be in treatment for a longer time period.

Stage Two: Within this stage, our clients learn different coping methods to use between sessions. We want our clients to feel a sense of equilibrium, as the cope with emotional distress. Our clients use bilateral stimulation (also known as eye movements) and various stress reduction techniques.

For bilateral stimulation, the therapist has the client focus on their traumatic memory. While they’re concentrating, the therapist moves their hand in front of the client’s eyes. This helps keep the eyes busy. This is based on REM sleep, as we process and store memories during this stage of sleep.

Our eyes moves rapidly back and forth as we dream. When our clients perform rapid eye movements, this can help them process memories while awake. These traumatic memories can be safely absorbed and packed away into their memory storage.

Stage Three-Six: This therapy continues, as clients focus on specific, vivid aspects of their memory. They identify negative beliefs associated with that bad memory, while experiencing full emotion. During this time, they’re asked to rate the severity of their negative emotions. They’re also asked to state a positive belief that they have about themselves.

After engaging in this therapy, clients are asked to empty their minds. They’re asked to describe how they feel. If the client feels fairly stable, then the therapist will move onto the next memory. This all depends on the individual, as this is a highly personalized therapy method.

Stage Seven and Eight: Our clients are asked to keep a diary throughout their EDMR sessions. This helps both the client and the therapist. The diary of a client helps our therapists learn whether or not techniques are helping the individual.

Please Call Us Today

This is just one therapy option that we offer, as we help our clients reach sobriety. Each customized treatment plan will ensure the highest levels of success. If you or a loved one need help overcoming addiction, please do not hesitate to contact us today.