The 8 Phases of EMDR Therapy

Mental health disorders are often catalysts for substance addictions. This is because many people who suffer from mental health disorders turn to substance abuse to help them cope. For example, many individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders and trauma may begin using drugs or alcohol. Before these people know it, they’ve developed substance addictions in addition to their mental illnesses. 

To treat co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, people must receive dual diagnosis treatment. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a great form of therapy to include in such a co-occurring disorder treatment program. EMDR for anxiety and trauma manipulates the mind to help people heal from the past. 

What is EMDR Therapy?

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Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy is a widely used treatment technique that can help heal people of trauma. This type of therapy can also help treat cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Since PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder, EMDR for anxiety can be helpful for those dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.

While EMDR is a relatively new treatment option, it has been proven to help in cases of drug abuse and addiction. Specifically, this therapy can reduce some of the negative effects that come with drug addiction. It also reduces the overall chances of relapse.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy may not be right for everyone, but it is worth considering. If you or a loved one are struggling with drug addiction, we are here to help. North Jersey Recovery Center offers comfortable and trusted treatment for you and your loved ones.

EMDR for anxiety and trauma makes people think about past traumas or aspects of life that give them anxiety while focusing on a moving object with their eyes. The idea behind this therapy is that making people think about past traumas while focusing on moving objects with their eyes will influence the mind to no longer associate stress and anxiety with their past traumas. 

EMDR for Anxiety

EMDR therapy is a widely used treatment technique that can help heal people of trauma. Many people also use EMDR therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

EMDR Therapy for Addiction

This therapy is a relatively new treatment option, but it has been proven to help in cases of drug abuse and addiction. In fact, this therapy can reduce some of the negative effects that come with drug addiction. This type of therapy can also reduce the overall chances of relapsing. Furthermore, EMDR therapy is a great therapy option for people that suffer from co-occurring anxiety and substance use disorders. 

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy may not be right for everyone, but it is worth considering. If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, trauma, and/or drug addiction, we are here to help. North Jersey Recovery Center offers comfortable and trusted treatment for you and your loved ones.

EMDR Therapy for Trauma

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy focuses on visual stimulation. In cases of post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction, EMDR therapy seeks to help treat the person’s trauma. Coincidentally, research shows a connection between a person’s eye movements and traumatic memory (similar to REM sleep).

During EMDR therapy, a person is asked to recall traumatic memories while also stimulating their visions. This helps reprocess, or restore, the traumatic memories and reduce some of their effects. 

While people use this therapeutic approach to treat some mental disorders, it can also be used to treat addiction. This therapy has even been proven to heal traumatic events by reducing people’s negative reactions to them. EMDR therapy occurs in 8 phases, focusing on the person’s past, present, and future. 

The 8 Phases of EMDR Therapy

As mentioned, EMDR therapy uses 8 different phases to focus on a person’s past, present, and future. During the process, skills and attitudes are discussed for future improvement and positivity down the line.

Phase 1 – History Taking and Treatment Planning

History taking and treatment planning includes identifying the traumas, stresses, and triggers that a person is struggling with. It also includes gathering information on the patient’s history with these traumas, stresses, and triggers. During this phase of EMDR therapy, individuals also come up with goals that when reached will help them deal with their traumas, stresses, and triggers. 

Phase 2 – Preparation

During the preparation phase of EMDR therapy, patients are briefed on EMDR therapy and the treatment plans that make the most sense for them. During this phase, patients may even receive self-control tips to help them manage their anxieties prior to receiving therapy.

Phase 3 – Assessment

During this phase, specific triggering memories are identified. A positive belief may also be introduced for every triggering memory during this phase of EMDR. For example, if a person identifies memories of being alone and in harm’s way as being what causes anxiety, a positive belief that the patient is safe and not alone may be introduced at this time. 

Phase 4 – Desensitization

It’s during the desensitization phase of EMDR therapy that patients will need to focus their eyes on moving objects as they think about past traumas. The purpose of this phase is to get people’s minds to change the way that they respond to trauma, stress, and anxiety. 

Phase 5 – Installation

During the installation phase of EMDR therapy, individuals will really be hammered with positive beliefs. That way, patients can use their positive beliefs to combat their feelings of trauma and stress when triggered. 

Phase 6 – Body Scan 

The “body scan” phase of EMDR therapy is about reevaluating how much of an effect negative thoughts of trauma still have on the mental well-being of the patient. The next steps that a therapist will take in the therapy process will depend on the results of this phase of the therapy. 

Phase 7 – Closure

Phase seven is a wrap-up phase. The person is instructed to keep a log throughout the week. Here they should log in to any related situations or material that may arise. This is meant to remind the person of self-calming activities taught in the second phase of EMDR. 

Phase 8 – Reevaluation

The eighth and final phase of EMDR therapy examines the progress that has been made so far. Treatment analyses all related events, incidents in the present that are causing stress, and future events requiring a different response. 

A Closer Look at EMDR for Addiction

EMDR therapy is an option that is typically overlooked (because of its availability). This type of therapy can be a useful option. The eye movements that people make while in therapy can reduce some of the feelings that stem from traumatic or emotional memories. 

Some studies and cases on post-traumatic stress disorder and abusive relationships show that people with PTSD show a positive transformation after EMDR therapy. Since PTSD has been shown to correlate with drug addiction, properly treating it through EMDR therapy could help prevent people with co-occurring substance use disorders from relapsing. 

EMDR therapy involves talking about traumatic or intense issues and memories that can trigger erratic behavior that can then lead to individuals relapsing. As such, it’s best to let therapeutic professionals like the ones here at North Jersey Recovery Center conduct EMDR therapy with you. 

Many people that struggle with addiction are also struggling with past trauma. EMDR therapy can help people heal and overcome this past trauma so that they don’t need to turn to drugs to cope. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder often co-occurs with addiction. EMDR therapy is the perfect form of therapy to use when treating co-occurring PTSD and addiction. While this therapy may not work for everyone, it is a great option when it comes to any anxiety or trauma-related co-occurring disorder. 

Treating Addiction Memory

Addiction is often not a matter of choice. For example, there are cases where people accidentally become addicted to medications that doctors prescribed to them to help them manage pain from physical injuries. While reprocessing EMDR therapy won’t help such people out too much, it can help people with their addiction memory. 

Addiction memory is defined as a hard-wired recall of an addiction-related euphoric event. Fond addiction memories can result in continued drug-using behavior and can halt the recovery process.

EMDR therapy can ease some of the feelings from an addiction memory though. Ultimately, by incorporating EMDR therapy into regular treatment, people’s chances of long-term recovery increase substantially.

More Information on EMDR Therapy

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EMDR therapy is a unique process that has continued to show success in people suffering from PTSD and substance abuse. Additionally, more information might help see if this kind of therapy is right for you.

There is no need for medication when it comes to this therapeutic approach. The entire process only relies on the use of visual stimulation along with the therapy aspect of EMDR. As such, this particular therapy is great for people who don’t take well to medication. When it comes to equipment, most therapists use a pen. Other EMDR equipment is used for the process, but it is not required to have successful treatment. 

Due to its simplicity and effectiveness, EMDR therapy is a great option for people struggling with addiction and past trauma. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, in combination with other treatment choices, is a great way to get solid treatment. North Jersey Recovery Center offers EMDR therapy along with many other treatment options.

Other Treatment Options for Drug Addiction

Substance abuse can have many negative effects on you and your loved ones. Therefore, EMDR therapy is just one of the many treatment options available to individuals that struggle with mental health and substance use disorders. 

Generally speaking, addiction treatment involves a variety of common addiction and mental health treatment options and techniques. At North Jersey Recovery Center, we’ll be by your side no matter what treatment option you decide is best for you. 

Common drug addiction treatment options include:

Get Help Today at North Jersey Recovery Center!

If you or a loved one struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, it may be time to get help. North Jersey Recovery Center is here to give you the best treatment for your addiction. Contact us today to learn more about our facility and resources.

 

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Laura Riley

Laura-Riley-Cropped-Profile-150x150Medical Reviewer

Laura comes to NJRC with 23 years of vast clinical experience in hospital, residential, outpatient, and community outreach settings where she has worked, supervised clinical teams, and volunteered. She has provided substance abuse and mental health counseling, clinical coordination, and advocacy to individuals, families and groups, and specializes in co-occurring disorders for both adults and adolescents.