EMDR Therapy

EMDR Therapy for Addiction

Wednesday, June 10, 2020 | By Cooper Samp

The body intuitively understands how to repair itself when it is injured. Does the mind also know how to heal emotional and mental wounds? The mind’s innate ability to heal is among the main premises of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

When you fall and scrape your knee, the body’s natural healing process starts to take over. The healing is stunted if splinters remain stuck in the wound or you keep hurting the same location. The body can only repair the wound as soon as you’ve properly cleaned and protected the area.

Much like healing an injury in the physical body, the brain’s processing system naturally gravitates toward a healthy state of mind. Traumatic events cause imbalances or blockages in the brain. With these blockages, people will continue feeling emotional discomfort and suffering. However, when the blockage is eliminated, the mind has the ability to continue healing.

Of course, getting rid of a mental block isn’t as easy as a doctor getting rid of a tumor. Treating mental health disorders is less concrete and often includes a range of issues. EMDR is a fairly new form of treatment that helps release the discomfort triggered by traumatic events.

Utilize this guide to find out more about it, how it can help you and where you can find qualified therapists:


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of therapy used to help individuals deal with emotional distress induced by traumatic life experiences.

Psychotherapy refers to “talk therapy” where a person develops a therapeutic relationship with an experienced counselor. Together, they overcome issues that may trigger emotional and mental discomfort. Other kinds of talk therapy consist of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

EMDR counseling uses the concepts of traditional talk therapy and includes a new aspect that has actually been known to accelerate the sometimes time-consuming process. The procedures used by experienced clinicians help individuals activate their mind’s natural healing ability.

As with lots of therapies, it focuses on the person. Sessions revolve around an individual’s specific complications, past traumas, and establishing skills to be more resistant in the future.

How does it work? The process is divided into 8 stages. Here is a summary:

Phase 1: Understanding Your History

You will discuss your history with the therapist. Together you figure out the specific issue triggering you emotional distress. With the information provided, the therapist establishes a customized treatment strategy defining particular targets for processing. Throughout this stage, you likewise acquire insights into your circumstances and how they impact the way you live.

Stage 2: Preparation

It’s hard to handle emotionally-charged memories from your past. In this phase, the counselor teaches you strategies to handle the emotional distress often associated with treatment. These methods include assisted imagery, stress reduction, and relaxation exercises.

Stage 3: Assessment

At this point in your treatment, you and your counselor have identified a target memory to be processed. This includes picking out a particular scene from the targeted event. In addition, you might identify the negative self-belief connected with this event. Common unfavorable self-beliefs are declarations like “I am worthless” or “I am unlovable”.

While working with the counselor, people establish a brand-new belief about the target event. For instance, if you thought you were powerless about a scenario that transpired to you, you may adopt a declaration like “I am in control” when envisioning the event.

Stage 4: Desensitization

After the groundwork for the first 3 stages is established, treatment takes on a more active function in controlling feelings. The desensitization phase includes focusing on a target event’s related ideas or particular images and feelings while engaging in specific eye movements, tones, or taps.

After each set, the therapist asks you to clear your mind and see what thoughts or emotions cultivate. Depending upon what you report, a brand-new focus of attention may be used. Eventually, the emotional charge from the targeted event loses its power and is no longer overwhelming.

Phase 5: Installation

When the targeted event does not have as much emotional impact, the therapist will direct you to alter your unfavorable belief about the event. The favorable statement you developed in the assessment phase may be strengthened, ultimately changing your negative belief.

Stage 6: Body Scan

Your body most likely reacts when you think back to a distressing event in your life. You might not even notice this is occurring. If you think of a time when someone insulted you in front of a group of people, you may feel your fists begin to clench. Of course, if the event has lost its emotional charge, your body may not respond in the same way. Throughout the body scan phase, you will once again remember the targeted event and sense any lingering reactions or stress in your body. This will determine if more work is required.

Phase 7: Closure

As with several types of counseling, the closure phase is created to highlight the insights obtained from a session. This processing permits you to go over present complications in addition to future concerns. The counselor might likewise ask you to journal any emotions and thoughts occurring after the session.

Phase 8: Re-evaluation

In the final phase, you discuss your development with the therapist. This can include talking about related memories, present problems, and future treatment objectives.

This treatment is not merely thinking of an uncomfortable memory and moving your eyes in a specific way. EMDR is a methodical procedure using a specific set of evidence-based protocols.

How are Certified EMDR Counselors Trained?

This therapy has a solid foundation in scientifically-backed principles, so correct training is necessary. According to the EMDR International Association, advanced degrees are necessary to even be eligible for the training program. Mental health clinicians should have a master’s degree in counseling, psychology, social work, or other related fields. Nurses must also have a master’s degree with a specialization in psychiatric mental health.

Training involves an intensive 50-hour standard curriculum where prospects learn the structure of the treatment. Therapists likewise learn from live and videotaped presentations. In addition, students go through supervised practices with feedback to ensure they understand and follow protocols.

To become a certified EMDR counselor, the clinician needs to also have two years of experience in their field. When the training is finished, they must perform a minimum of fifty clinical sessions and receive twenty hours of consultation by an approved therapist. Continuing education is likewise needed to maintain the certification.

Can I Just Do This On My Own?

The internet has plenty of information about treating yourself using this strategy. Is it possible to treat yourself? Sure, some individuals have success. Others experience difficulties.

Look at it this way: Just about everyone has the capability to exercise. Some develop routines and remain determined on their own. Others have the intention of going to the gym, but other things interfere. Some pick to exercise, but they exercise improperly which increases the threat of injury and decreases the results. Many individuals use the support of trainers to stay motivated, discover reliable workout regimens, and prevent injuries.

A qualified therapist will guide you through the best practices to make this intervention reliable. In addition, since you are frequently handling emotionally-charged memories, the counselor will ensure you’re not retraumatizing yourself.

Much like a personal trainer prevents you from lifting a harmful amount of weight after years of inactivity, a therapist will ensure you’re not putting yourself at risk for more trauma or setbacks.

How Does it Help in Substance Abuse Treatment?

Lots of people rely on drugs or alcohol as a means to manage challenging emotions. Relationship problems, difficult memories, anxiety, and depression all can contribute to a person’s addictive behaviors. In addition, the pleasure occasionally associated with harmful, compulsive behaviors produces and increases addictive habits.

Among the primary focuses is reducing the effects of traumatic experiences and emotionally-charged memories helping individuals become inspired altering the way she or he looks at them. This new point of view develops a more favorable frame of mind where drugs or alcohol are no longer a way to cope.

EMDR can even take battling addiction a step further. It trains the person to break the connection from the pleasure of harmful habits. This helps reduce the effects of the power substances have over you.

What Are The Pros and Cons?

Just like any kind of mental or physical treatment, the risks and benefits need to be considered. One of the significant benefits of this treatment is that it takes less time to decrease negative signs compared to other treatments.

What is it that makes this approach more effective than others? A common hypothesis suggests the synchronized attention to the negative event and a neutral stimulus (eye movement, tapping, tones, and so on) helps elicit a direct response. This sets off the mind’s natural curiosity to see the negative event from different points of view. By reducing the effects of the intense feelings related to the negative event, you are more prepared to deal with it proactively.

According to the EMDR Institute, some people might have the ability to process a single trauma in as little as 3 sessions. Of course, this number differs based upon numerous variables and depends on your particular complications and history. Some people may use up to 12 sessions to process previous traumas and lay out a plan for future success.

Another advantage is the capability to deal with numerous manifestations. It has helped those with addiction in addition to anxiety, trauma, depression, and relationship complications.

One of the main risks is having to re-experience the trauma causing you distress. This can bring up unpleasant memories and experiences you buried with time and the help of substances. This may likewise cause a brand-new development of emotions, thoughts, or even dreams about the event. This is why it is vital to have a skilled counselor with extensive training and accreditation to direct you through the process. If you attempt handling the emotionally-charged event by yourself, you may not have the tools and coping skills to manage it, but a therapist will make sure you aren’t experiencing too much distress.

Is EMDR Helpful?

Nearly three decades of research has been carried out on the effectiveness of this treatment. Numerous research studies suggest receiving this kind of treatment from a qualified specialist can considerably improve signs of trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental illness.

For instance, a research study released in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders identified that it seems effective for those suffering from anxiety. The study also concluded it is at least as helpful as treatments like relaxation techniques and active listening for those with posttraumatic stress reactions. In addition, a research study performed by Ying-Ren Chen et al, (2014) concluded that it “substantially decreases the signs of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and subjective distress in PTSD patients.”

Is It Helpful for Drug Addiction Treatment?

A study carried out by Hase et al. (2008) in the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research found those with alcohol dependency revealed a “substantial reduction in cravings posttreatment and 1 month after treatment where TAU [treatment as usual] did not.”

These are just a few of the many research studies verifying this practice as a legitimate, trusted treatment technique to lots of mental health conditions, including drug addiction.

Is There EMDR Therapy Near Me in Tampa?

If you’re interested in receiving therapy for your drug addiction and live in the Tampa, Florida area or are interested in taking a trip here, Tampa’s Coalition Recovery can assist. We supply a comfortable, serene environment away from the stressors and triggers that might be currently connected with substance abuse.

Our highly skilled and knowledgeable EMDR counselors have actually helped others with their addictions through this and other tested treatments.

Tampa’s Coalition Recovery specializes in person-centered holistic care. We know everybody’s situation is different and that’s why we utilize the most effective, evidence-based methods for fighting addiction. From private counseling and group treatment to amazing experiential opportunities, we believe everyone has the potential to live the satisfied and sober life they desire.

Contact Us Today To See If This Therapy Is Right for You

If you or a loved one is fighting addiction, you want to make sure every tool is readily available for an effective recovery. EMDR treatment has assisted many individuals ultimately handle their inner turmoil and release the firm grasp of addiction.

Tampa’s Coalition Recovery is ready to help you pave the path for a brighter future. We offer a full continuum of care using a range of techniques, so you can once again get your life back. Our admission professionals would love to talk with you today to learn how we can help. Call us today at (888) 707-2873 or contact us using our online form.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Don't Wait! Take back your life and let Coalition Recovery be your first step

Insurances Accepted

© Copyright 2018 | All Rights Reserved | Coalition Medical Company LLC, DBA Coalition Recovery

Call Now ButtonCLICK TO CALL