Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a psychotherapy approach, commonly used for trauma and severe psychological stress. EMDR in addiction treatment is shown to be especially effective. It focuses on the patient’s reaction to bad memories or experiences, and teaches them to make new, positive associations to those memories. Those negative experiences are often at the root of a dangerous substance or behavioral addiction. EMDR in addiction treatment programs is increasingly recognized and implemented in rehab centers.
EMDR is typically administered in several phases of treatment, once the therapist has gained a broad understanding of traumatic past events, tendencies, and genetic predispositions. The treatment itself is very complex, and can vary with the practicioner, but it is usually described as follows:
The therapist asks the patient to think of the negative event, and the feelings associated, while following an object or a light with their eyes. The therapist then asks the patient to think of good feelings or memories to replace the negativity, while again following that same object/light path with their eyes.
The complexity lies in NLP, or neuro-linguistic programming. In its simplest definition, this teaches patients to separate themselves emotionally from a traumatic event, and associate positive feelings to that event, reducing the severity of anxiety, post traumatic disorders, and other negative feelings.
While research surrounding EMDR is minimal, research supporting NLP is astounding - and shows amazing success in therapy, especially addiction treatment therapy.
To learn more, or explore EMDR as a treatment option for addiction treatment, please reach out to us. Our Behavioral Specialists can tell you more, and connect you with a treatment program that works best for you.
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