Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of psychotherapy. Its discovery dates back to the 1980s. Initially, researchers looked for a way to help trauma victims overcome their experiences. Now, therapists use EMDR therapy to help people who are struggling with substance abuse problems.

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

therapist helps man using emdr therapyThis non-invasive procedure takes place in a therapist’s office. During one-on-one talk therapy sessions, you discuss incidents that generated trauma in your life. At the same time, you explain the steps you’ve taken to deal with these incidents. Because many mention self-medicating techniques with drugs or alcohol, EMDR therapy can be instrumental in recovery.

During a progressive set of treatment sessions, you learn to reprocess the traumatic event. Rather than connecting past trauma to a dysfunctional response, you reprogram your reaction. The memory now links to a positive thought or response. For the actual reprocessing to take hold, therapists enforce an eye movement that rapidly goes from side to side.

EMDR therapy thrives on repetition. Over time, the traumatic memory no longer troubles you in the same way as it did before. Scientists explain that the eye movement causes both hemispheres of the brain to cooperate in processing the trauma. As a result, you’re now able to move past the situation and continue with your life.

Why EMDR Therapy Works so Well in Addiction Counseling

Consider that self-medicating behavior is a hallmark of people enduring trauma. Alcohol or opioids help you cope with unwelcome thoughts and intrusive feelings. You dull your central nervous system for a while, which gives you some breathing room. However, after a while, you develop an addiction.

Now, you have unresolved trauma problems alongside a chemical dependency. By only treating the addiction, you leave yourself open to a relapse. After all, you still have to deal with the trauma. Unless you do so, there’s a high likelihood of relapse.

However, with EMDR therapy as a part of drug counseling, you uncover the cause of addiction and deal with it. You eliminate a primary reason for abusing drugs or alcohol. In the process, you protect yourself from a possible relapse due to your trauma later on. Even though this procedure is highly effective, it can’t stand alone as a treatment for dependency.

Therapeutic Approaches that Complement EMDR Therapy

Addiction treatment specialists work with you to customize a therapeutic approach to healing that includes EMDR. Doing so provides for the involvement of modalities such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, which encourages the recognition of dysfunctional patterns in thoughts and actions
  • Dialectical behavior therapy as a means of emotional regulation in situations you can’t change
  • Family therapy, which benefits program participants who are in codependent relationships or experience dysfunction
  • Dual diagnosis assessment and treatment for individuals with co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety
  • Matrix model therapy, which supports the development of relapse prevention strategies

Another beneficial type of therapy is holistic in nature. It focuses on yoga and meditation as means for stress reduction. When you pair these modalities with other evidence-based treatments, you significantly boost your ability to heal. Add to this the peaceful atmosphere of a residential treatment facility, and recovery is close at hand.

Getting the Help You Need Today

If other rehab facilities have failed you, consider getting help at a center that implements EMDR treatments. At The Hills Treatment Center, therapists take a personal interest in helping you recover. You don’t have to continue suffering from addiction. Call 866-323-4665 today to schedule an intake appointment with a treatment specialist.