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EMDR Therapy in Outpatient Rehab in Phoenix

Continuum Recovery Center in Phoenix is proud to offer the highly effective and relatively new approach to therapy called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which was originally developed to help the brain heal from traumatic experiences, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and panic disorders.

What is EMDR Therapy?

Left undiagnosed and untreated, trauma, whether from childhood abuse, natural disaster, or repeated exposure to highly stressful situations, can damage the brain and cause dysregulation, anxiety, and depression and making us more susceptible to addiction.

Our certified therapist conduct EMDR therapy in Phoenix with clients in a safe and supportive environment, which is especially helpful for those with painful memories but are not able to talk about them.

EMDR is different from traditional talk therapies. EMDR helps your brain heal itself through eight different phases over 12 sessions. Using either lights or gentle tapping on the hands or legs, the therapist will walk you through re-connecting the two hemispheres of the brain, so stuck memories are “processed” and integrated in a healing way.

8 Phases of EMDR in Holistic Outpatient Addiction Rehab in Phoenix, AZ

The process of EMDR takes place over the course of several sessions, each one following a sequence for optimal healing:

  • Phase 1: History & Treatment Planning – Your therapist reviews your history and determines if you’re a good fit for EMDR. Generally, you’ll be considered a good candidate if you have a history of trauma.
  • Phase 2: Preparing for Treatment – Your therapist will guide you through learning different ways of responding and processing psychological stress.
  • Phase 3: Assessing which memories to target – your therapist identifies the specific memories that require attention.
  • Phase 4 – 7: Treatment – your therapist will gradually ask you to focus on these memories while carefully shining light into your eyes or, in some cases, using somatic “tapping.” The goal is to help your mind “go blank” so you can witness these thoughts and feelings from a more objective, less reactive perspective.

After each set, the therapist asks you to clear your mind and notice what thoughts, feelings, or emotions arise and a new focus of attention may be used. Eventually the power is drained from the event and your nervous system begins healing. This “resets” a hyperactive flight, fight, or freeze instinct.

Phase 8: Evaluation – After treatments, you and your therapist will do an evaluation and more sessions can be added if medically indicated.

How Does EMDR Help in Substance Abuse Treatment?

By definition, addiction is the repetitive use of a substance or behavior with increasing frequency, which over time becomes harmful or even fatal, resulting in serious consequences to one’s health, relationships, and well-being. Many addictions start as a way of coping with difficult emotions, problems with relationships, anxieties, or depression, especially related to painful memories or experiences.

EMDR is specifically designed to neutralize those traumatic experiences and memories, so people don’t feel victimized and unable to cope and can create more positive ways of navigating life’s challenges. It also helps disrupts the connection between the addictive “pleasure” and harmful behavior.

A study conducted by Hase et al. (2008) in the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research found that those with alcohol dependency showed a “significant reduction in cravings posttreatment and 1 month after treatment where TAU (treatment as usual) did not.”

How Does EMDR Affect the Brain?

Just like the body, the brain has its own way of healing from painful experiences and memories. However, traumatic experiences, especially repeated ones, are not always processed effectively. Instead, they linger in the body. As your body feels this stress, it goes into flight-or-flight response.

If this response goes on too long, it creates an overactive stress system that can lead to a host of health issues, including (not surprisingly) addiction issues, stomach ailments, lowered immunity, and widespread inflammation and mental illness.

The combination of light, eye movement, and directed attention from a qualified therapist helps unlock these negative experiences so you’ll have less of an overwhelming reaction to them.

Continuum Recovery Center Offers Certified EMDR counselors in Outpatient Addiction Rehab in Phoenix

If you want to try EMDR therapy for your healing, give us a call. Our highly trained and EMDR certified and licensed counselors will assess if you’re a good candidate for it and guide you through the process as part of our holistic outpatient addiction rehab in Phoenix.

EMDR Therapy Infographic

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