Resolving Traumatic Memories and Emotions in Drug Rehab
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What Is EMDR Therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy was developed in the late 1980s. EMDR was originally used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder but today, it is frequently used in a variety of therapeutic situations, such as to treat trauma and PTSD. Because many addictive behaviors and co-occurring disorders also stem from trauma and distressing life experiences, EMDR is very effective when used in addiction treatment.
In a drug and alcohol rehab setting, EMDR is frequently used alongside cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to help clients process and resolve traumatic memories and emotions. It also helps clients manage these memories and emotions in a healthy way instead of trying to cope by using drugs and alcohol.
There are eight different stages of treatment that allow the therapist to work through past memories, current challenges, and anticipated future issues with the client. These stages are:
- Client preparation
- Body scan
- Reevaluation of treatment effect
Each stage is designed to establish trust, develop an individual treatment plan, prepare the client, and gain closure from traumatic events and adverse life experiences as they work through their drug and alcohol rehab program.
Benefits of EMDR Therapy
- Helps the client resolve past and current trauma
- Helps the client process traumatic memories and life experiences
- Reduces or eliminates physical and psychological symptoms of trauma and PTSD
- Improves self-esteem
- Increases self-efficacy
How EMDR Therapy Is Used in Addiction Treatment
All Nova therapists and counselors approach treatment through a trauma-informed lens to provide appropriate paths to recovery and to create a safe and understanding environment for clients of all backgrounds. At Nova Recovery Center, we have one certified EMDR therapist who will use EMDR therapy during drug and alcohol rehab when appropriate.
EMDR works by having the client hold a certain thought or memory in his or her mind while tracking the therapist’s hand movements back and forth with his or her eyes. Research shows that these eye movements help the brain process traumatic memories as the therapist works with the client to re-associate those memories with more positive thoughts.
For example, instead of a client thinking about how horrified and disgusted they are with themselves as a result of the traumatic event, they can feel strong and capable because they survived such a challenging life experience.
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