WHAT IS EMDR TREATMENT?
Addressing trauma is key to recovery, and we know there’s no single way to treat its effects. One of the most effective methods The Edge Treatment Center uses to help the people under our care deal with trauma is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. An evidence-based practice, EMDR is one of the many modalities we make use of to help people overcome past traumatic events.
Administered by a clinician specifically trained in its use, EMDR uses lights, sounds, and touch to help people overcome trauma and stay sober.
How Does EMDR Work?
In an EMDR session, a therapist helps a person recall a traumatic event while focusing on positive beliefs about themselves. As the person does this, they receive a series of rhythmic stimulations delivered by sound, light, or touch. Known as bilateral stimulation, these rhythmic stimulations help a person relax, gain perspective on their issues, and allow the person to think deeply without fear as they recall their trauma. EMDR treats the effects of trauma by focusing on three specific targets:
Who Developed EMDR?
According to the EMDR Institute, the therapy was developed by psychotherapist Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., when she noticed eye movements seemed to help with the emotions linked to her traumatic memories. While experiments showed eye movements seemed to also desensitize others to their traumatic memories, it wasn’t enough. Shapiro then added some therapeutic elements to the process, naming it eye movement desensitization (EMD).
Further tests showed the therapy showed good results for people living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Shapiro continued refining the therapy, giving it its current name in 1991. In the mid-90s, enough successful research had been done to where a textbook on EMDR was published and the therapy’s “experimental” label had been removed.
Does EMDR Work?
While there’s still some debate over EMDR, studies seem to show there are real benefits to the therapy – particularly in those with PTSD. A study funded by Kaiser Permanente found majorities of trauma patients in the study were no longer diagnosed with PTSD after multiple EMDR sessions. Meanwhile, an additional study showed over 75% of combat veterans managed to free themselves of PTSD after 12 EMDR sessions.
The EMDR Institute reports the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans affairs, the American Psychological Association, and the World Health Organization have all recommended EMDR as a treatment for trauma.
Studies from Kaiser Permanente and elsewhere show EMDR is particularly effective at treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Edge has multiple clinicians trained in EMDR, and it is one of our most popular therapies for resolving personal trauma.
Dealing with trauma during addiction treatment is a highly effective way to help people get and stay sober.
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