EMDR Treatments for Women
Addiction is complicated and far-reaching. It affects all aspects of your life and can create long-lasting changes in your brain. The best addiction treatments offer a mix of time-tested and experiential therapies that promote healing on every level.
At JourneyPure Voyage, our compassionate addiction specialists create customized treatment plans for each client. Your treatment plan — which we’ll tailor to your specific challenges, goals and interests — can include eye movement desensitization and processing (EMDR). This progressive therapy has been shown to help clients process traumatic memories in a more effective and healthy way.
Today, EMDR is regularly used to help people overcome past hurts, freeing them from the desire to cover pain with substances. This simple, therapist-guided treatment does not use any medications and has no side effects.
Learn more about EMDR treatment and how it can help you overcome your addiction challenges.
Originally developed to relieve posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in trauma survivors, EMDR is now used in multiple psychotherapies to reprocess and reformulate negative memories and beliefs. With EMDR, deep-seated psychological challenges can be addressed and managed successfully.
An EMDR therapist challenges a long-held assumption that memories of traumatic events affecting an addict’s view of life take years to recover from. With EMDR therapy, clients at JourneyPure Voyage are discovering the ability of the body and mind to heal physical and mental wounds without undergoing years of intense psychotherapy.
Founders of EMDR therapy believe that traumatic events and their memories are not transferred correctly within the brain’s messaging system. Therefore, disturbing memories and their associated emotions get “locked” in this system and cannot be normally processed and accepted in ways that are beneficial to your psychological well-being.
By engaging in a series of repetitive eye movements (REMs), EMDR treatment seems to support the theory that the brain has the ability to naturally desensitize your traumatic memories causing PTSD symptoms or the compulsion to take addictive substances.
An interesting aspect of EMDR therapy is that many psychologists think that the brain wants to be healthy and is attracted to maintaining mental health as much as we wish to maintain physical health by eating right and exercising. This could be another reason why JourneyPure Voyage’s clients respond so well to EMDR therapy.
The EMDR Therapy Process
EMDR begins with a discovery phase. You’ll work with a therapist to identify traumatic memories. Unlike other forms of talk therapy, you don’t need to go into great detail about the traumatic event itself. The goal of the first phase is just to identify the memories of past pains that are affecting you today.
Once you identify your traumatic memories, your therapist will help you develop techniques for effectively addressing these memories on your own. Between EMDR sessions, if traumatic memories resurface, you’ll have the tools you need to deal with them.
After you feel comfortable with these new skills, you’re ready to begin EMDR treatment. You’ll start by focusing on the worst parts of a specific event. As you are concentrating, your therapist will ask you to identify the negative feelings that accompany each memory, which you’ll replace with better ones. Then, your therapist will guide you to move your eyes in a certain pattern. By moving their hands and fingers in front of your eyes, your therapist will encourage certain healing eye movements, called “bilateral stimulation.” During these eye movements, your therapist will help you reframe the traumatic memory, replacing it with healthier thoughts.
Each session, you’ll repeat the process. Through repetition, you can “rewire” your brain, replacing negative feelings with positive thoughts. During the whole process, your therapist will help you remain in touch with what your body is feeling. Often, trauma presents itself in the physical form. When you’re no longer experiencing the negative physical feelings, you have successfully overcome your traumatic memory.
The number of sessions you undergo depends on your unique circumstance. Some particularly traumatic memories may take longer to overcome than others. The key is to work with your therapist, communicating how you are feeling and responding to the treatment.
Nearly all substance abusers have experienced some form of abuse or neglect as children or teenagers. Often, they have not addressed their struggles with a trusted professional. Consequently, they have turned to drugs, alcohol or destructive behaviors as a way to self-medicate the severe anxiety, panic, guilt and depression they feel from being abused.
The goal of EMDR therapy is to allow you to experience a strong feeling of managed equilibrium, or the ability to remain objective when confronted with bad memories. In conjunction with stress reduction techniques, during a therapy session, an EMDR therapist will teach you how to focus on past and present memories, as well as “future memories,” or what you think may occur in the future.
Your EMDR therapist will ask you to think about a specific event and focus on the worst parts of the trauma. As you are concentrating, your therapist will move their hand back and forth in front of your eyes, moving and wiggling the fingers so that your eyes remain busy watching this movement. These eye movements referred to as “bilateral stimulation.”
EMDR Therapy and Addiction Recovery
The theory supporting the success of EMDR involves the biological mechanisms behind REM sleep. When we dream, our brain processes hundreds of
thousands of memories, then organizes and stores them for safekeeping. During REM sleep, your eyes move back and forth rapidly under your closed eyelids, “watching” these memories get processed. By making your eyes move like you are in REM sleep during EMDR therapy, your therapist is helping traumatic memories be processed and stored like memories are during REM sleep.
After completing an EMDR session, your therapist will ask you to clear your mind of all thoughts and describe your feelings. Clients who feel well enough to continue and are not overstressed by the previous session proceed on to processing another traumatic memory.
Learn More About EMDR Treatment
If you are interested in learning more about how EMDR therapy can help you recover from an addiction, the trained staff at JourneyPure Voyage can help. Call us today at 615-939-9294 to get started on your journey to a better tomorrow.