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What Is EMDR Therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy that concentrates on treating core traumatic memories through various approaches than traditional talk therapy. An extraordinary element of EMDR is a scripted method that analyzes eye movements to enable the brain to heal. The study has found a relationship between the rhythm of a person’s eye movements, identical to REM sleep, and the association of traumatic memories.

What is EMDR therapy? EMDR, at its most fundamental, works by having patients have conversations about their memories while facilitating their vision. It can enable therapists to process how that memory is stored and lessen intense feelings associated with it and other memories found throughout the process. EMDR has proven to be an adequate treatment to help patients recover from traumatic events and other triggers often experienced in substance use disorders.

How Does EMDR Work For Trauma?

EMDR therapy does not need to talk in detail about a distressing problem. EMDR instead focuses on altering the emotions, thoughts, or behaviors that result from a painful experience that is trauma. It permits your brain to resume a natural healing procedure. While numerous people use the words “mind” and “brain” when referring to the identical thing, they are different. Your mind is the collection of memories, thoughts experiences.

Your mind depends on the structure of your brain. That structure implicates networks of communicating brain cells across many areas. That makes it easier for those regions to work together.

Adaptive Information Processing

EMDR depends on the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model, a hypothesis about how your brain stores memories. This theory, formulated by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., who also developed rapid eye movement therapy, acknowledges that your brain stores traumatic and everyday memories differently. Frequently, your brain stores trauma memories in a way that does not allow for healthy recovery. Trauma is like an injury that your brain has not been allowed to heal. Because of not having the opportunity to heal, your brain did not obtain the message that the threat was over.

Recent experiences can correlate to earlier trauma occasions and reinforce negative expertise repeatedly. It also works as an injury to your mind. And like your body is sensitive to pain, your mind is more sensitive you hear, see, smell, or feel during a trauma-related occurrence.


Sounds, sights, and smells with a related trauma event will “trigger” those improperly accumulated memories. Unlike other memories, these can result in overwhelming feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, or panic.

An example of Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing is PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder, flashback, where improper storage and networking causes the mind to access those memories in a distorted and overpowering way. That is why people with a past of flashbacks tell feeling as if they were reliving a disturbing occasion.

Reprocessing And Repair

When you experience EMDR, you access recollections of a traumatic event in very complex ways. With eye movements and tutored instructions, accessing those remembrances helps you reprocess what you recall from the adverse event.

EMDR Therapy For Addiction Treatment

The usage of EMDR in co-occurring addiction treatment sees root in the fact that trauma is a familiar experience when in active addiction. It is often tied to a history of trauma resulting in substance abuse. Since Emdr for addiction is a structured therapy modality, there are eight phases of treatment:

Phase 1

It includes an examination of the concerns implicated and how EMDR may help. In addition, it frequently comprises asking about additional history and formulating a treatment plan for the following steps.

Phase 2

It concentrates on preparation for rapid eye therapy by assuring the process is understood and anticipations are reviewed. This phase also delivers healthy coping skills, like stress reduction methods, that are in place before moving forward to the following stage.

Phase 3

It focuses on considering the core traumatic memory, frequently called the touchstone. It is done through a structured question sequence that reconnects the brain with the memory.

Phase 4

It helps to desensitize the recollection from uncomfortable feelings using bilateral stimulation by a structured script. Eye movements, tapping, sounds, or other measures may be utilized to achieve this.

Phase 5

Eye movement therapy starts by associating positive emotions about themself with the target memory to alter how the brain is related to the memory.

Phase 6

It involves the body being carried into the procedure to review for body sensations that may require additional focus.

Phases 7 And 8

It concentrates on the closure and reevaluation of the procedure. It ensures no lingering distress is felt and that the target recollection no longer causes a disruption, which is recorded on a system named Subjective Units of Distress.

Individuals with substance use disorders frequently have diagnosable trauma diseases, like PTSD. Therefore, it makes EMDR therapy addiction a front-line treatment and a logical choice that can significantly help patients and lessen their risk of relapse.

Searching for EMDR Treatment Near You

If a person struggles with a traumatic past, a substance use disorder, or addiction, they may find aid from EMDR treatment. More and more therapy centers are providing EMDR to deal with the causes of addiction. If this is something that a person thinks you may aid from or is unsure about, contact a treatment provider. They can talk about available treatment opportunities with you.

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