Addiction treatment has improved since it first emerged in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Experts have developed various methods to help people overcome the disease of addiction. One of these is EMDR therapy, which is relatively new in addiction treatment even though it’s been around since the 1980s. After years of studies, rehab centers have started to use EDMR more to treat addiction.

What Is EMDR Treatment?

Therapist working with client on EMDR therapy.

EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. This therapy technique helps people heal from the trauma that is often a root cause of addiction. It demonstrates that the mind can recover from trauma just like the body heals from physical injuries.

The reason why this treatment works for addiction treatment is because trauma is a common cause of drug use. People who suffer from trauma-induced emotional distress may self-medicate to relieve their symptoms. The only way for them to recover is to address the trauma that caused their symptoms. EMDR therapy facilitates the healing process by helping people reprocess disturbing events.

How EMDR Therapy Works

EMDR treatment is comprised of a combination of elements. Throughout eight phases, it focuses on memories, current situations, and positive future actions. The goal is for people to feel empowered by the events that cause them distress.

Phase One

During the first phase of treatment, therapists and clients identify distressing memories or situations. Knowing the issues to target helps therapists develop treatment plans. They also discuss the development of behaviors and skills that the clients will need for future conditions. This planning stage usually takes just one therapy session but could take more.

Phase Two

Therapists ensure that their clients gain ways to handle emotional distress in the second phase. They might teach a range of stress-reduction strategies to use during and between sessions. The objective is for their clients to maintain balance as they experience quick and effective change.

Phases Three to Six

The next four phases initiate the procedures of EMDR therapy. Clients must recall a vivid image of their trauma and identify negative and positive beliefs about themselves. They also have to recognize the emotions and physical sensations that they felt at the time of the incident.

Next, therapists have the clients rate the negative and positive beliefs. Then, they have the clients focus on the memories, negative beliefs, and sensations. Meanwhile, therapists use bilateral stimulation such as tones, taps, or eye movements. The length and type vary depending on the clients’ needs.

After the stimulation, therapists instruct their clients to let their minds go blank and observe whatever happens. Then, they choose the next stimulation based on what the clients report. Therapists repeat this process numerous times in a single session. They follow established protocols to help clients get back on track if they have trouble progressing or feel distressed.

When clients report no distress about their traumas, therapists have them think about the positive beliefs that they identified. The clients can modify these beliefs for other distressing events. As EMDR treatment progresses, the ratings for the negative beliefs should decrease. At the same time, the ratings for the positive beliefs should increase.

Phase Seven

Closure is the premise of the seventh phase of EMDR treatment. Therapists ask their clients to keep a journal. It should include anything of importance that arises during the sessions. The journal serves as a reminder of the self-calming techniques that they’ve mastered.

Phase Eight

The final phase starts the next EMDR therapy session. It involves examining the clients’ progress so far. It also assesses their past, current and future events.

How Long Does EMDR Treatment Last

Most of the time, a single session takes between 60 and 90 minutes. The number of sessions that clients need depends on the severity of their trauma(s). However, five sessions is the average. Those who have suffered multiple traumas usually require more sessions than others. 

Santé Center for Healing’s clients benefit from EMDR when in the residential level of care.

Santé Center for Healing Uses EMDR Treatment

If you’ve developed an addiction after self-medicating because of a trauma, EMDR therapy could help you recover. Santé Center for Healing can determine whether or not this treatment is ideal for you. We’re able to do this because our expert medical and clinical treatment team customizes a treatment plan for each client that starts with detox programs and continues through residential, intensive outpatient, and other aftercare programs.

Every clinician at Santé is EMDR-trained or EMDR-certified. This treatment is pivotal to the clinical work done at Santé and the positive results our client’s experience. 

In addition to EMDR, Santé utilizes additional treatment elements that complement the work done with EMDR. Our treatment elements include, but are not limited to:

All of the above addiction treatment services are offered across Santé Center for Healing’s recovery continuum of care and addiction treatment options, including: 

Don’t let addiction or a past trauma dictate how you live. Santé Center for Healing’s EMDR- trained and EMDR certified clinical team can help. Overcome your problems with help from Santé Center for Healing. Contact our detox and rehab center at 866.238.3154 now to begin your new life.